Here is a recipe for a basic fresh simple tomato sauce. This sauce is simple and plain. You can embellish it in any number of ways–add small cubes of summer squash, eggplant or zucchini, add capers or olives, add oregano, savory or fennel instead of basil, you can leave it chunky and rustic or puree it smooth–you can pretty much do anything to this sauce. I personally prefer it nice and chunky for the texture, but I know many short, opinionated people prefer a smooth sauce. Use this for a light pasta dish, or spoon it over roast fish, chicken, meatloaf or meatballs.
To peel the tomatoes, I like to core them (use a sharp-tipped serrated knife to cut out the stem and hardcore beneath it) and then blanch them very briefly (1 minute) in boiling water, then remove to a bowl of ice water. The skins will slip right off. Cut the tomatoes in half and squeeze out the seeds. You can reserve the seeds and juice–the juice can be used in your sauce but not the seeds, which make the sauce bitter. If you want to use the juice, just strain the seed/juice mixture to remove the seeds. This sauce freezes really well, so if you find yourself with a bunch of tomatoes, you might want to double or triple this recipe and set some aside.
Simple Tomato Sauce
- 2 pounds tomatoes
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1/4 cup fresh basil, roughly chopped
- salt and pepper, to taste
- if the sauce is overly acidic, add a pinch of sugar
- For simple tomato sauce first bring a pot of water to boil.
- Core the tomatoes.
- Put the tomatoes into the water for about 1 minute, until the skins will easily slip off.
- Remove the tomatoes with a slotted spoon to a bowl of ice water.
- Slip the skins off of the tomatoes.
- Cut the tomatoes in half and squeeze out the juice and the seeds.
- Reserve the juice (strain out the seeds).
- In a large pot, warm the olive oil and gently cook the onion and garlic until they are tender and translucent about 10 minutes.
- Add the tomato halves and crush them a bit with the back of a spoon or a masher.
- Add the juice (minus the seeds) to the pot.
- Simmer for about 15 minutes.
- Puree in a blender or with an immersion blender, if desired.
- Add salt, pepper, and basil to taste. Your simple tomato sauce is ready!