As promised, here is my own “how to make tomato sauce” post, after my last rant (here) where I dissected BuzzFeed’s attempt to write a recipe for making “the best” tomato sauce, and explained why it was all wrong.
Actually, this is not “my” recipe—this is a basic recipe that millions of Italians have used for ages to make one type of tomato sauce. It’s the equivalent to posting a recipe for a basic hamburger in the US; it’s not an actual copyrighted recipe, and of course there are variations, but almost everyone knows how to make a hamburger.
This is a super quick sauce, or sugo, which is actually ready by the time the pasta is done (usually it’s ready before then). I made a chunky sauce, but you can make a smooth sauce with puréed tomatoes, which I often use.
CAVEAT: If you substitute any of the ingredients which I list, or alter any of the directions, you must realize that you will not have the same outcome, or the same flavor as the sauce I make. I often give a friend a recipe with instructions on which specific ingredients to use; the friend will make the recipe and then tell me, “It didn’t taste as good as yours.” After a brief investigation, I realize that they substituted inferior quality ingredients. If you want the best outcome, use the best ingredients!
UPDATED July 7, 2016: eating authentic Italian pasta as part of the Mediterranean diet, can actually aid in weight loss according to a recent study.
Want a tip on testing if your choice of tomatoes are top quality? First, read the label: tomatoes from Italy are usually very good, but do check the ingredients. You do not want anything added other than tomatoes, salt, basil or citric acid. The best product is just tomatoes. Once you decide to purchase said tomatoes, here’s the second test: open the can/jar/carton and dip your fingertip into the tomatoes/puree. Does it taste good? If you made a sour face, they’re probably not going to make a great sauce. If the answer is yes, then you’ve found the right tomatoes!
Authentic (Quick) Italian Tomato Sauce for Pasta
- 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (like De Cecco or Lucini)
- 4 or 5 cloves fresh garlic (not in a jar, dried, powdered, or frozen) preferably grown in USA
- small bunch of fresh Italian parsley, finely chopped (my family likes to use parsley in sugo)
- 1 (28-32 oz) carton/jar of chopped tomatoes or puree (like De Cecco, Mutti, or Bionaturae- I no longer like POMI since their quality dropped) ultimately, fresh Roma tomatoes are best if you have them
- about 1 1/2 level tsp Kosher salt
- 3 or 4 large leaves of fresh basil
To enjoy with pasta as soon as the sauce is ready, put a large pot of salted water on the cooktop over high heat and cook the pasta (I prefer De Cecco) as directed (if you are using egg or a very quick cooking pasta, do this about half-way through these directions).
Pour the oil into a large saute pan (not a deep pot) over medium high heat. Crush the garlic and add it to the oil (if you want a spicy sauce, you can add some hot pepper, fresh or flakes, at this point). Saute the garlic until it just starts to brown, then add the parsley.
Turn the heat up to high.
Now add the tomatoes, and quickly cover with the lid for about 30 seconds, until the squirting subsides. Stir with a wooden spoon and lower the heat a little. It is important that this sauce is cooked at a fast simmer, as it is cooked briefly.
Add the salt and continue to simmer at a fast pace, and stir often.
The sauce will thicken quickly, so do not overcook it, and have it become too thick; about 5 to 7 minutes should be sufficient.
Taste the sauce, if it doesn’t taste delicious, it probably just needs a little more salt. Turn off the heat and add the fresh basil (I tear mine into pieces). Also, unless absolutely necessary, do not wash your basil. Wipe it with a damp paper towel instead, so the water doesn’t ruin the flavor and aroma.
Add sauce to the drained pasta (save some pasta water to add back into the pasta in case it’s too dry), and enjoy immediately with some freshly grated authentic Parmigiano Reggiano cheese and/or pepper.
Also, if you’ve been plating pasta in a bowl, then topping it with sauce, this is American-style. If you want to serve it the way they do in Italy, mix the sauce in and then plate it. Domenica Marchetti, who is an authority on Italian cuisine and the author of six Italian cookbooks explains on her site, also. She also shares a simple Italian Pasta Sauce recipe which is almost identical to mine.
You can’t get a simpler, better tasting tomato sauce!
Don’t miss another post! Sign up for my free subscription HERE, but make sure to look for the
Feedburner confirmation email or you’ll get nothing, nada, niente and zippo in your mailbox!
(I promise not to sell or share your info, ever!)