Friday, July 6, 2012

Quick Fresh Tomato Sauce

Fresh Tomato Sauce
A few years back I posted about a fresh tomato sauce from the New York Times, but with this week's haul from the Farmer's Market I went with Cook's Illustrated (sub req). They're almost identical... start with oil and garlic, add your tomatoes, simmer until the flesh breaks down and it's nice a thick, and then finish with basil. The main difference is whether to peel and seed the tomatoes ahead of time (i.e. tomato concassé) or use a food mill after the fact. I'm not at all intimidated by peeling tomatoes these days, and if you don't own a food mill that is the way you have to do it... at least if you don't want undigestable tomato skins floating around in your sauce. Aside from the tomato peeling, how long this recipe takes depends a lot on the tomatoes you are using... I had some super ripe romas and it was done in closer to 10 minutes than the stated 15-20, so keep an eye on it. If your tomatoes are super fleshy and juicy it might be closer to 30 minutes (or more). Just note that the longer you cook them the sweeter they get, so hold off with any sugar addition until you've tasted the sauce at the end.

Quick Fresh Tomato Sauce

adapted from Cook's Illustrated


  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced or garlic pressed
  • 2 pounds ripe tomatoes, cored, peeled, seeded and diced (video here)
  • salt
  • 1/4 cup chiffonade of fresh basil
  • Fresh ground black pepper


  1. Stir oil and garlic together in large (cold) skillet. Turn heat to medium and cook until garlic is sizzling and fragrant, about 2 minutes.
  2. Stir in tomatoes and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Bring to rapid simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, reducing heat if sauce begins to stick to bottom of pan, until thickened and chunky, 15 to 20 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat. Stir in basil and season with salt and pepper to taste. If the sauce is on the tart side add a pinch or two of sugar.
Note: Should be enough sauce (2 cups) for a pound of pasta. If it's too thick you can thin it out with some reserved pasta water.

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