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Home made Tomato Sauce For Pasta

How do you make it? How long does it take? And How different is it from the jarred stuff?

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  1. it depends entirely on what you are going for. rich and thick requires longer cooking. i often enjoy and quick, fresh-tasting option that is more like a saute of tomatoes and veggies. very different than jarred.

    1. I start with diced onions and garlic, saute in olive oil until soft, add canned tomatoes with a small can of tomato paste and a minced carrot (for sweetness). add any other veggies (peppers, mushrooms, etc.), whatever you like. (you may want to saute them first in a separate skillet).

      1. All jarred sauce has a high content of sodium, and other things to make it taste good.

        What you are asking about the difference, is of personal/recipe tastes. And there are tons of excellent recipes. Hazen, Lidia, Giada are all good resources for tomato sauce. And there are at least two basic recipes; marinara (quick sauce) and bolognese (meat sauce).

        Although I make my own, I have read the above ladies' recipes, and the easiest for a beginner, would be Giada. You can google it, or email me and I will give you her recipe.

        After you make your own, I doubt you will turn to jarred again. ;)

        1. Along with everybody's ideas, I would add that this time of year, since the "fresh" tomatoes in supermarkets are so devoid of flavor, stick with canned tomatoes. IMHO, San Marzano plum tomatoes are stellar for making sauces.


          1 Reply
          1. re: AndyP

            If you can find it, I prefer the "Ital" brand San Marzaro canned tomatoes.

          2. "And there are at least two basic recipes; marinara (quick sauce) and bolognese (meat sauce)."

            Respectfully, mcel215, Bolognese is a meat sauce, not a tomato sauce. A little tomato is used to make it, but if made traditionally it isn't going to look or taste anything like a tomato sauce. I don't mean to jump all over you, but tomato sauce that happens to contain a smattering of ground meat passing itself off as Bolognese is a scourge, I tells ya... a scourge! :-)

            On a more constructive note, EmileJ, the answer is a world of difference. Which isn't to say that there aren't some jarred sauces out there that aren't respectable products in their own right (though they are few and far between), but the two aren't synonymous. There are countless variations and you should start simply. mcel's advice to look up some recipes from some respected Italian chefs and start there is a good one. Personally, of those three, I'd steer you towards Hazan. Like any Italian cook, she has her regional biases, but there's no questioning her awesomeness and unlike Lidia Bastianich and Giada DeLaurentiis, you know her recipes are traditional, authentic Italian (not that there's anything wrong with non-traditional, but best to learn the rules before you break 'em, I think). If you're looking for something more along the lines of the jarred sauces to which you're accustomed, look for a recipe with a longer cooking time. Pick a simple one and give it a try.

            I have to respectfully disagree with pobo's suggestion about sauteeing vegetables for a tomato sauce in a separate skillet. The whole point of a pasta sauce is to let flavors marry and become greater than the sum of their parts. If you want to do a sauce with mushrooms, let them release their flavorful juices directly into the sauce, not into a separate pan only to be discarded. And they, in turn, will benefit by sucking up a little bit of the sauce as well. It's a symbiotic relationship that's dead before it can begin when they're cooked separately.

            And Andy's right on about canned tomatoes. Don't use fresh unless they're awesome. Good canned tomatoes can be absolutely fantastic and there's no shame whatsoever in using them. In fact, for certain sauces I prefer them.

            Have fun!

            16 Replies
            1. re: Dmnkly

              Hi Dmnkly,

              I have to stand up for myself a bit ; ) . The two basic tomato sauce(s), I was referring to, one my marinara and the other my meat sauce (I called it bolognese). For the lack of a better term, it's my quick sauce and my Sunday (meat sauce) gravy, taught to me by my Calabrese MIL, who will be 95 on March 28th, bless her little soul. And my meat sauce, does not have a smattering of meat, quite the opposite. I begin with olive oil in a dutch oven, and brown pigs feet, salt pork and hot Italian sausage, and then add garlic (lots). I then add 1 small can of tomato paste, and cook to get the raw flavor out (about 5 min). Add a cup of red wine, stir and bring to a simmer. Add 2 cans of whole tomatoes, crushed by hand. Bring to a simmer, add 2 bay leaves, salt, pepper, and a pinch of red pepper flakes. Turn to low, and let simmer, add meatballs and continue to simmer.

              I do have a fresh tomato sauce, that is done in the summer months, with fresh tomatoes, garlic, olive oil and basil.

              I have been making sauce (whatever one calls it these days), for 40 years. My family loves it.

              But, I think for the OP, giving a good source for a beginner would be Giada.

              Learning to make a simple marinara, instead of using jarred sauce is a great start!

              1. re: mcel215

                mcel, it sounds absolutely delicious, and I particularly applaud anybody who works with pigs feet and salt pork! :-)

                That said, it's not Bolognese. I realize I'm being somewhat pedantic, but Bolognese is rapidly becoming yet another completely debased food term. Just like ordering crab and getting surimi, ordering Kobe beef and getting some domestically raised Angus with a Wagyu steer five generations back in the bloodline, or ordering BBQ ribs and getting boiled ribs in bottled sauce that have never gotten within three miles of a smoker, it's getting to the point where ordering Bolognese is a total crapshoot because the term is now being used so loosely that you could end up with anything. It isn't identifying the food, it's becoming a buzzword. Ragu alla Bolognese is a very specific and special dish with a rich tradition and it deserves not to have its name slapped on any pasta sauce that happens to contain tomatoes and meat, no matter how delicious that sauce may be.

                Don't misunderstand, I say bring on the non-traditional variations. Just don't call them Bolognese, because they're not :-)

                1. re: Dmnkly

                  Hi again D,

                  I googled the overuse of the term Bolognese, and found this wonderful link. I am planning on trying this recipe soon.


                  1. re: mcel215

                    Now THAT'S Ragu alla Bolognese :-)

                    My final product is more oily and less wet, I don't use liver and I don't brown the meat, but these are minor personal variations that absolutely fall under the umbrella of traditional (I don't mean to suggest there's ONE WAY to do it). This is a good recipe.

                    1. re: Dmnkly

                      Well, I am not crazy about the liver either, but I do want to brown the meat.

                      And your recipe, if you don't mind? : )

                      1. re: mcel215

                        Actually, I LOVE liver... it's just one of those Bolognese variables that I've never gotten around to trying.

                        Mine's most heavily influenced by Hazan's. I tried her milk first, simmer away, add wine, simmer away, add tomatoes, simmer away method and really liked the results. I don't know that I buy her explanation that the milk "protects" the meat from the more acidic elements, but I got a nice mellow sweetness out of it that I liked a lot. I always do a massive pot and freeze most of it, but I imagine it scales down just fine.

                        I start with 1/4 C. olive oil and 3/4 C. butter over medium heat, and I add 2 C. of finely diced onion and a minced clove of garlic (my decidedly non-traditional element). When the onion starts to get translucent, I add 3 C. each of carrot and celery diced very finely -- about 4mm -- and toss them around for a couple of minutes. Then I add the meat -- a pound each of ground veal, beef and pork (quite fatty on the last two) and half a pound of very finely diced pancetta -- and salt it. I cook it, breaking it up, until it just loses the raw color. I'm not looking for the Maillard reaction (in fact, I prefer that it doesn't brown), so I just toss it all in at once. Once it's just lost the raw color, I add 4 C. of whole milk, adjust the heat and simmer it until the milk is cooked off. Then I add a bottle of dry whilte wine, grate in a little nutmeg and completely simmer away the liquid again. Then I take two big cans of whole tomatoes in puree, crush them in by hand, and add the puree from one of the cans (I save the puree from the other for something else). Then I crank it way down and keep it at a super-mellow simmer until it completely cooks down and is nothing but meat and liquid fat (salting as necessary along the way).

                        The two variations I've been wanting to try are the livers, and I also want to try mincing the meats by hand. I think it'd make a great texture. But that's a lot of mincing, so I've been waiting for a smaller batch :-)

                        1. re: Dmnkly

                          Oddly enough, I found a photo of a Bolognese ragu I did some time ago. Italians would scoff at my use of spaghetti rather than tagliatelle, but I can be forgiven for that . . . hopefully. Enjoy the pic.

                          R. Jason Coulston

                            1. re: Dmnkly

                              Thanks so much, looks divine ; ) .

                          1. re: Dmnkly

                            Hi Dmnkly,

                            Thank you........I must have had brain freeze, it's Ragu, not Bolognese, you are so right! Whatever it's called in Italy, it's still gravy to me. ; ) .

                          2. re: mcel215

                            Thanks for sharing this link, this guy should have his own TV show!

                          3. re: Dmnkly

                            Y'all gotta read this month's issue of Saveur--the cover story is on the city of ragu (Bologna) and they give a boatload of recipes there (I don't have it with me so I can't tell you the exact title). The editor's note explains that there is ragu alla bolognese and ragu alla neapolitana--the latter being a dish in which you cook a big piece of meat in tomato sauce, serve the meat as a main course, and use the tomato sauce to dress pasta. The former, they say, is a meat sauce which might or might not contain tomato. Generally the ragu recipes from the north are more like bolognese, and from the south more like neapolitana.

                          4. re: mcel215

                            >>my Sunday (meat sauce) gravy,

                            Yay, mcel215, you said gravy!

                            Pigs feet -- oh, good for you. My mother used to put in pig skin made like a brasciole, yum.

                            I use ground beef or meatballs, hot and sweet Italian sausage, and whatever sort of beef or veal bones with some meat on them that look good to me. Of course, lots of garlic and olive oil. Puree, paste, crushed tomatoes (I wasn't thrilled with the whole San Marzano thing), wine, seasonings (including sugar) round out my gravy.

                            And the rest is letting it cook slowly and stirring occasionally.

                            I'll have to look for pigs feet next shopping trip.

                            1. re: dolores

                              Here in Boston, I used to get pigs feet at my butcher in the North End. Those days are gone for me, and now find them at S&S.

                              And yay to you Dolores, for not being thrilled with the whole San Marzano thing! Unless they are from that Region in Italy, with a stamp on the can, they aren't truely San Marzano. And I am not paying $$$ to buy the imported ones. I believe (JMO), that with all of the flavors from the meats, etc., it doesn't really matter what canned tomato I use!

                          5. re: Dmnkly

                            hi! i have a ?/comment....i agree with your previous statement of cooking veggies in sauce and understand that give and take relationship that occurs.
                            however, my problem is with adding meat to the sauce. i have made this successfully several times. however, last nite, blah sauce.... i sauteed, onions & garlic in evoo, then added minced celery and carrots for sweetness/texture (a la bol. sauce) then can of crushed tom and salt, pep, of coures thru-out. after 20 mins i added 3 links sweet italian sausage and 1 lb ground turkey--both uncooked. i thot they would soak up sauce and take on flavor as they cooked in pot with sauce. after 2 hours slow simmering the meat tasted like meat and my bfriend said he didn't even know i put sausage in it! it all melded together, turkey was too fine, perhaps b/c it's turkey meat and not ground chuck or something like it. and the sausage wasnt' even there. what happened? should i cook meat seperately in onions and garlic then add? or just add meat, brown, then add sauce? the sauce tastes better today, but after 5 hrs of cooking, i wanted it to be great then! (i have little to no patience)....thots, suggestions?

                          6. I make a quick tomato red pepper sauce a lot. Usually when I need some for a beef braise or a stew. It can be thinned out with olive oil to make a dressing also. Its just some onion, red bell pepper and some decent tomatoes if they are availible. Add boquet garni, some white pepper and cayene pepper to taste. You can use different colored tomato and pepper combinations like roma golds and yellow bell peppers to make different sauces. Not really complex or overpowering but it tastes pretty decent.

                            1. Many good suggestions have preceded my post. I advise reading the label of any product that you are going to use in your 'condimento.' DO NOT USE ANY PRODUCT THAT CONTAINS "HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SWEETENER." That stuff is a death waiting to happen.

                              I use the term 'condimento' instead of sauce because of a 48-year dispute between my wife and me. She's of Italian heritage and calls it 'gravy', and I'm not of that heritage and call it 'sauce.' When I think of gravy, I think of stuff that is brown. Most people of Italian heritage claim it's gravy because there is meat in the SAUCE. My wife does not argue about my use of the term 'condimento.'

                              4 Replies
                              1. re: ChiliDude

                                C'mon, ChiliDude... there hasn't been a single controlled scientific study that demonstrates HFCS causes any problems beyond the same that would be caused by eating similar amounts of other sweeteners, and this isn't the place for propagating medical quackery. That said, I wholeheartedly agree -- sweetened tomato sauces are a personal pet peeve.

                                Gravy is definitely an Italian-American thing (some of my extended family would call it gravy), but I have no idea where the terminology came from.

                                1. re: Dmnkly

                                  I'll jump fearlessly into the fray with only a bit of trepidation. I look for HFCS on labels too and avoid it whenever possible. But I'm not concerned about how much of it I get from any one particular product or any one particular dish. I suspect (albeit without a medical degree) that it's just empty calories but not particularly lethal or anything. I think the problem is the amount of empty calories we are all getting when you take our whole diets into consideration. And especially when we think about kids today, who probably gravitate to the sweetened soda and juices and processed foods. Their diets as a whole contain too much of this stuff at the expense of what they really should be getting.

                                  And it's probably not used in things of the highest quality, so it can be an indicator of quality when you see it on the label in doing home cooking.

                                  So ChiliDude and Dmnkly are both right. It's good to avoid the HFCS overall but a small amount of it in any one given dish may not be cause of concern.

                                  1. re: karykat

                                    Kary, you're right on... mostly. For the reasons you list, it might not be a bad idea to avoid HFCS on a practical level, but the statement that HFCS is "death waiting to happen" is just stupid.

                                    The problem with HFCS is its overuse. But the point is that the same goes for salt, fat, calories in general and plain old sugar, all of which are overabundant in the average American's diet today (mine included -- I'm no saint). But rather than blaming themselves by addressing the real problem of simply eating too much, both of specific ingredients and amount of food in general, people much prefer to blame something or somebody (those evil food scientists) else, and thus the HFCS bogeyman is born. Nevermind that not a single controlled scientific study has demonstrated a causal connection between HFCS and any of the myriad maladies for which it is blamed, people rant against and avoid HFCS like it's arsenic.

                                    Propagating this all too common mindset is to value sensationalism over science, deflect blame unfairly and ignore related issues that are actually important. To say that we should avoid HFCS until there's further study is a reasonable assertion (if ridiculously overcautious, IMHO). But to call it poison or "death waiting to happen", as so many do, is just stupid and the propagation of this misinformation needs to stop.

                                    Incidentally, I avoid HFCS in a lot of products because I think cane sugar just tastes a heckuva lot better :-)

                                2. re: ChiliDude

                                  The Gravy vs Sauce debate. This drives me crazy. Gravy is made of juices from what was cooked and usually has broth and flour added. Sauce is what you put on pasta! If Sauce has meat in it, it's usually called Ragu, but for some reason Italians don't like that because Ragu is technically a french term (ragout). And when I make meat sauce it's never brown. How do Italians make it brown, haha?

                                3. Thank you all for all your input. I am trying it out tonight cause I have a guest and I actually don't like jarred sauces that much. One Question is how important is the quality of the olive oil since it will be blended with the tomato sauce. I generally use the Trader Joe's Kalmata Olive oil and is there a better canned tomato starter - diced, pureee or crushed? and is one brand better than others?

                                  31 Replies
                                  1. re: EmileJ

                                    Good olive oil is essential! I haven't tasted the TJ Kalamata, and even if it isn't an Italian oil, I'm sure it will do nicely. One of the fun things about pasta sauces is playing with different olive oils and seeing how they affect your final product.

                                    As far as tomatoes, whole is usually best, but it's not such a significant difference that you should worry about it. What's far more important is getting a good brand, and they vary wildly. Personally, I'm a fan of Carmelina, La Bella di San Marzano and Merysa tomatoes, though I've been using the DeCecco DOC tomatoes lately (the place next store stocks them) and I've been pretty pleased with them. Cook's Illustrated swears by Hunts, and many others have as well. I'm skeptical, but I haven't done the blind taste yet so my mind remains open. Avoid sweetened tomatoes like the plague (not for health reasons -- just for taste reasons).

                                    1. re: Dmnkly

                                      "I don't mean to jump all over you, but tomato sauce that happens to contain a smattering of ground meat passing itself off as Bolognese is a scourge, I tells ya... a scourge! :-)"

                                      Boy oh boy are you right. I couldn't agree with you more here. Bolognese is typically veal, pork, vegetables, white wine, and milk. There is a touch of tomato paste to give it a pink'ish hue, but tomato and ground beef absolutely DOES NOT mean Bologneses. The residents of Bologna would be sad to horrified to see what has become of their namesake ragu.

                                      Jarred tomato sauce is the kind of bland, horrible stuff that makes me sad when I see it. Seriously.

                                      Mario Batali's "Basic Tomato Sauce" from his Babbo cookbook has been an absolute staple for us. We make it in large batches then freeze it for later use. It does well in the freezer and holds for months in stasis, waiting to be pulled for last-minute meals and armed to wake up any boring or authentic Italian meal. It's quite simple with very few ingredients, all seemingly humble and available to anybody with a decent grocery store near them.

                                      I encourage everybody to use this recipe:

                                      1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
                                      1 Spanish onion, 1/4-inch dice
                                      4 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
                                      3 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
                                      1/2 medium carrot, finely grated
                                      2 (28-ounce) cans peeled whole tomatoes, crushed by hand

                                      In a 3-quart saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic, and cook until soft and light golden brown, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add the thyme and carrot, and cook 5 minutes more, until the carrot is quite soft. Add the tomatoes and juice and bring to a boil, stirring often. Lower the heat and simmer for 30 minutes until as thick as hot cereal. Season with salt and serve. This sauce holds 1 week in the refrigerator or up to 6 months in the freezer.

                                      R. Jason Coulston

                                      1. re: Jason_Coulston

                                        I am a huge fan of Marcella Hazans recipe for tomato onion butter sauce. The sauce cooks quickly ( about 45 min) and has a beautiful pinkish hugh from the butter and a great taste. It is also very versitle.

                                        2 cups canned tomato ( as many have mentioned, the San Marzano are great, but use whatever ones you like best)
                                        one onion peeled and halved
                                        5Tb butter
                                        aprox 1 tsp salt

                                        Just put everything in a pot, cook on a low simmer then remove the whole onion before serving. The onion is actually really good and you can put it on some nice bread as a snack. I think this sauce tastes great. If you prefer a smoother sauce, just put an immersion blender wand in at the end. Good luck with your sauce!!!

                                        1. re: Jason_Coulston

                                          That seems like a lot of thyme leaves. I like thyme but that seems like a lot.

                                          1. re: Jason_Coulston

                                            This is close to what I do but I add celery and use my food proccesor to chop celery, onion and carrot and sweat them in olive oil until soft, not brown. And i never have had fresh thyme on hand so use basil in the summer and dried Italian herb mix in the winter.

                                            1. re: Jason_Coulston

                                              JC - no chopped celery? No bay leaf? No pepper? That's one boring bland sauce

                                              1. re: jhopp217

                                                We just made that sauce last night for freezer stock-up. It's unbelievably good. I don't think the sauce needs or would want celery. The celebration of the sweetness in the onions and carrots works off the bright acidity from the San Marzano tamatoes. It's a celebration of purity of flavor and even bay might get in the way of that. I'd put the sauce we made last night up against any sauce. Period.

                                                R. Jason Coulston

                                              2. re: Jason_Coulston

                                                when you use tomato sauce recipe of batali's, do you more like using refrigerated one rather than frehsly made?

                                                1. re: hae young

                                                  I've made that sauce a number of times, and I haven't noticed any difference between using it right after I've made it versus refrigerated sauce. It freezes well too.

                                                  1. re: MMRuth

                                                    how do you do with refrigerated the tomato sauce? do you first reheat gently in pot or just throw it in, when it's cold, on the saute pan with sizzling olive oil on the top and then reheat the sauce untill it became hot?

                                                    1. re: hae young

                                                      I reheat it first in a saucepan. What do you mean about the sizzling olive oil?

                                                      1. re: MMRuth

                                                        i mean in batali's cookbook, he instruct sauteing thinly sliced garlic by by hot Ev-olive oil on the pan and then throw tomato sauce in on the hot pan. he wrote that without mentioning of reheating tomato sauce beforehand

                                                        1. re: hae young

                                                          Can you tell me which recipe you are making, and I'll go take a look at the book.

                                                          1. re: MMRuth

                                                            tomato sauce in mario batali's cookbook : babbo. when he use his tomato sauce with other ingredients, he instruct throwing that in on the pan but didnt mention whther should reheat sauce first seperately or not.

                                                            1. re: hae young

                                                              What is the name of the recipe, or the page number? Thanks.

                                                              1. re: MMRuth

                                                                tomato sauce (pg.220 ). and the recip of pg.137

                                                                1. re: hae young

                                                                  and do you think baby octopus is still good with tomato sauce?
                                                                  i used squid instead of the baby octopus because it is out of season right now.

                                                                  1. re: hae young

                                                                    Oops - I just realized that I don't have the Babbo book, but rather the Molto Italiano. But, I think, based on what you have told me, that you could use the sauce straight out of the fridge, though it couldn't hurt to take it out ahead of time. What is the name of the recipe?

                                                                    I think you could substitute baby octopus and squid as needed, though, for my taste, I think I'd prefer a pasta with them without a tomato sauce, unless it was incredibly delicate, as I'd worry that the tomato would overwhelm the flavour of either seafood.

                                                                    In Molto Italiano, there is a lovely sounding recipe for Bucatini with Baby Octopus, White Beans and Broccoli. It has olive oil, garlic, red pepper flakes, baby octopus, broccoli florets, salt and pepper, cannellini beans, parsey and toasted bread crumbs. I love toasted bread crumbs on pasta, by the way.

                                                                    1. re: MMRuth

                                                                      in the recipe of themolto italiano you told me just now, do you think the dish could be still sensible when substituing the squid for the baby octopus ?
                                                                      and the name of the recip is ( bavette with baby octopus, green chiles and, mint)

                                                                      1. re: hae young

                                                                        Yes, I think the squid would work as well in the dish I mentioned. And, green chiles and mint sounds lovely!

                                                                      2. re: MMRuth

                                                                        and mmruth! in batali's another recipe named as spaghettini with spicy artichokes, sweet garlic, and lobster, it seems he use spaghettini rahter than spaghetti noodle. i tried once cappelllini noodle. when i boiled it, and ate it as pasta dish, it was too thin in my taste and a lttle bit boring. are the spaghettiNi and cappelillini a little similar each other in texutre and thickness.?

                                                                        1. re: hae young

                                                                          Spagettini is thicker than capellini, but thinner than spaghetti. I'm not a fan of capellini either as I think it is just too thin and is very easy to overcook. I wouldn't hesitate to use spaghetti instead of spaghettini if you prefer it, or can't find the latter.

                                                                        2. re: MMRuth

                                                                          Hey. I definitely want to make that. We're in Rio and have access to octopus. Thanks for the idea.

                                                                          1. re: MMRuth

                                                                            hey mmruth, in that recipe of baby octopus with bucatini, mario batali said he prefer frozen baby octopus to fresh one because he thinks frozen ones are much tender. in his another cookbook : the babbo, mario didnt mention that whether he used the frozen octopus or fresh ones in the the recipe of baby octopus i inquired. but i found big diffrtence between those two recipes in each diffrent cookbook from the same batali. he boiled the baby octopus 45 mins in molto italiano but for that of the babbo, he just boiled it 15 mins before he tossed it to the hot pan. do you think frozen baby octopus takes such longer time , boiling 30 mins more?

                                                                            1. re: hae young

                                                                              I've never cooked frozen octopus - baby or not. The first time I cooked baby octopus, I grilled them, but they were still rubbery. The next time I boiled them first, and then grilled them - much better. I do find that his cork method really helps to tenderize the octopus. So, in terms of cooking the frozen octopus, I really don't have a sense of how long it would take, but in such circumstances, I just start tasting at a certain point in the cooking, and then stop cooking when I think the item is done. Sorry not to be of more help on this point.

                                                                              1. re: MMRuth

                                                                                mmruth! when you prep your fresh baby octopus or just octopus, do you remove innards of it in advance? i have finally found some fresh purveyor in my location so i can hopefully cook it in similar way of how batali did in his cookbook.
                                                                                but what do you think? should i remove the innards of it or just leave it and boil enough? i dont know if the innards inside of baby octopus could be edible.

                                                                                1. re: hae young

                                                                                  My recollection is that when I've bought octupi, they've already been cleaned.

                                                                            2. re: MMRuth

                                                                              Basic Tomato Sauce is in Molto Italiano too.

                                                        2. re: Jason_Coulston

                                                          when mario says 3 table spoons of frehsy tyme, how do you measure a table spoon of the tyme? do you put the tyme leaves which is picked off on the spoon densely or just sparsely? i find it very vague measure when comes to the right amount of table spoon of whatever.

                                                          1. re: hae young

                                                            I pick the leaves off the stems and then put them in a table spoon - somewhat densely, I suppose. However, sometimes I get a bit lazy and just throw in a bunch of stems which I pull out later.

                                                      2. re: EmileJ

                                                        For tomato sauce, you want to use whole peeled tomatoes (preferably san marzanos or at minimum, plum tomatoes). You can crush the tomatoes as you add them to the pot (I use my hands for this purpose ;-) For the olive oil, just make sure to taste it beforehand and make sure you like it's flavor on it's own.

                                                        My basic sauce is to sautee some minced onion and garlic in a pan with olive oil, then add the tomatoes and simmer. Add salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. You can season with fresh basil, oregano or majoram, depending on what flavor profile you are going for. And, in the event that you get a batch of tomatoes that are a little tart, you can add a smidgen of sugar to balance out the sauce.

                                                        After I boil and drain the pasta, I return it to the pot and toss it with a T. or so of olive oil, and then add the sauce and mix. If you are adding basil/fresh herbs, add now. I usually add grated parmesan as well. If needed, add more salt and pepper before serving.

                                                      3. This thread is getting a little scary for my very simple sauce, but here goes. Its from Luciano Hazan's pasta book (Marcella's son). You melt a lot butter in a frying pan, throw in a can of Italian tomatoes (the good ones). Chop them a little with your spatula and put a halved onion (unpeeled) on top (the whole half, not chopped). Simmer it down til thick and throw out the onion. You can process it at this point or not. You can them reheat with some heavy cream, or not. Pu it on stuffed pasta or penne and top it with good pamasan, parsley, S&P. It is so good like this: try it without further changes at least once.

                                                        1. To all who responded thank you-I made my debut Tomato pasta sauce last night and will never go back to jarred stuff again.
                                                          I hope you realize that there were so many different suggestions that it was hard to sort through, but I kinda pushed my way.
                                                          HERE IS WHAT I DID:
                                                          First sauteed 2 tbl of fresh chopped garlic and 1/2 chopped onion in my TJ kalmative olive oil ( I think it is greek).
                                                          I didn't have fresh thyme, but I had some that I dried from my herb garden in the freezer - 1 tbl.

                                                          Things were smelling good and then added the canned diced tomatos (3) I had on hand - the fresh ones were not ripe enough. These were organic fire roasted.
                                                          Then It was a bit thick so I added 2 -3 cups white wine. I let it cook a while till it was some what thick. Tasted it and remembered I should add a bit of salt.

                                                          It was a big hit with my guest with the spagetti, the chicken breast and a salad.

                                                          I have to tell you I wanted to add some serrano peppers to spice it up a bit, but wasn't sure.

                                                          Again thank you.

                                                          I think I'll go out tonight.

                                                          4 Replies
                                                          1. re: EmileJ

                                                            Glad it turned out well, Emile :-)

                                                            That's one of the fun things about tomato sauce -- there isn't much to it, but it's easy to alter and tweak and make it your own.

                                                            One tip regarding salt. If you want a lighter, fresher tasting sauce, add the salt right at the end. If you want a deeper, redder, more intensely tomatoey sauce, add salt right at the start. This is especially true when you're using fresh tomatoes, but applies to sauces using canned tomatoes as well.


                                                            1. re: Dmnkly

                                                              "I made my debut Tomato pasta sauce last night and will never go back to jarred stuff again."

                                                              Now that's what I like to here. Amen.

                                                              R. Jason Coulston

                                                            2. re: EmileJ

                                                              Glad your sauce came out well!

                                                              For an Italian tomato sauce, if you want to add heat, go with dried red pepper flakes (the kind they have in pizzerias for sprinkling on top of pizza). If you take the sauce in that direction, you are heading into "arrabbiata" territory, and you probably want to leave out the herbs. While the serrano chiles might taste good, their flavor is more Mexican than Italian.

                                                              1. re: DanaB

                                                                Adding serranos does taste good, same thing with poblano and jalepenos and so on. To add different flavors and nice heat without getting that "what is this doing in here" kind of look, I use very finely ground peppers. Habenero, chipotle, hot spanish paprika, etc. DanaB is right, not Italian, but if looking for some fun, give it a shot.
                                                                Also, when using canned tomatoes, avoid the "style" types, just get the tomatoes(whole,diced,petite diced,crushed). The additives/spices/veggies may sound like a good fit for your dish, but adding your desirables to sauces beats the companies version.
                                                                Enjoy your sauces.

                                                            3. I found the sauce in recipe zaar for lasagna supremo. The marinara sauce was excellent and can be used to make a simple tomato sauce.

                                                              1. My mother was overall a terrible cook but there were a few things that she could make really well and one was a great spaghetti sauce. She claimed that she learned how to make it from an old Italian chef who ran a small restaurant in her childhood Chambersburg (Trenton, NJ) neighborhood.

                                                                I won’t go through all of the ingredients, because they were the usual contents. It was always started with a pork product, either a couple of fatty shoulder pork chops, Italian sausage or both. What was different was she put her canned tomatoes through a food mill to remove the seeds and skin. Then she put the onion, garlic and carrot in the sauce peeled but not cut up and the parsley was added tied as a bouquet garni. These along with meat and any other solids (bay leaves, pork bones, etc.) were removed with a slotted spoon at the end of the cooking process (4 or 5 hours). This made for a very smooth and flavorful sauce or gravy. Also, if the sauce was a little too acidic she would add a teaspoon or so of baking soda to neutralize it rather than add sugar. It made the sauce foam and bubble like crazy for a few seconds but did the trick without affecting the basic taste.

                                                                I’m curious if anyone else uses the food mill, whole veggies and baking soda in preparing their sauce/gravy.

                                                                5 Replies
                                                                1. re: TomDel

                                                                  I still use my Grandmother's old Foley- you just can't kill that thing!

                                                                  I make a number of tomato sauce variants, depending on my mood, what's available, whatever...Usually it's a quick filletto di pomodoro if I have pancetta or salt pork in the freezer, or marinara if I don't. Sometimes I use the food mill beforehand, sometimes I go for a chunky sauce and break up the tomatoes by hand- I guess it keeps things interesting.

                                                                  Almost always there is bay leaf, usually basil, occasionally butter- over the years parsley and oregano have found their way out of my repertiore. When you use good tomatoes those herbs seem to get in the way of the flavor.

                                                                  When I make a slow-cooked sauce with all of the meat I tend to go whole hog, though. Onions, carrots, celery, wine, etc.- it all contributes. The difference is that for this particular dish I use the food mill after the fact, when the carrots and onions have gone all soft and will pass through into the final (admittedly rustic) sauce. When I do this I make a large batch and freeze the remainder in small portions for when I don't have the time.

                                                                  Redpack tomatoes make for a good long-cooked sauce if you're budget conscious ( I can get them on sale for around 50 cents a can), no baking soda necessary. I do like to use my more expensive DOP's for the quickies, where it really makes a difference.

                                                                  1. re: TongoRad

                                                                    I usually look forward to hand crushing my san marzanos over the bowl, but do occasionally food mill them before using, depending. For a basic sauce (pummarol' in Naples), I've started to simplify--lightly browning a whole small (not chopped) onion in olive oil with a big basil bunch, and then adding tomatoes. Saw it first on Batali in Italy's Sorrento episode. And although my entire Calabrese bloodline might wonder why, I've also started to use either garlic or onion, but not both, in a simple sauce. Re: "bolognese"--there is a widespread Southern Italian tradition of basic tomato sauce with carne macinata, or ground beef, playing a small role. As for ragu, anything goes (we always had beef, pork, ribs, fresh and dry sausage, braciole, and meatballs and maybe even a piece of chicken). Small cuts of any meat, browned, cooked with aromatics, wine, and tomato, make wonderful (and simpler) ragus--try chicken thighs and some pancetta or small cubes of lamb or pork or all three.

                                                                    1. re: obob96

                                                                      I make it the way my MIL made it, which is Abruzzi style. Very very smooth. Fine chopped vegetables, almost unnoticable. Tomatoes in blender, and then pushed through fine strainerSeeds would ruin it. She only used Progresso tomatoes, but don't think they're available anymore. I only use Lavalle San Marzano tomatoes (from Naples) my only improvement on the original recipe. Besides the usual meat, there must always be some type of bones to thicken it. Gound meat sauce never came into play, except in lasagna. Bone-in lamb was a secret ingredient, I'm putting it in my Easter sauce.
                                                                      Baking soda, I've heard that the water in Italy is very mineral-y, and to counteract indigestion due to the soft water over here, people started adding it. Makes it taste more like Italy. Just a story I heard, I've never added baking soda myself.

                                                                      1. re: coll

                                                                        "She only used Progresso tomatoes, but don't think they're available anymore"

                                                                        I'm not 100% certain, but my mother used to use Progresso tomatoes as well, and I believe she stopped because they started sweetening their tomatoes.

                                                                        1. re: Dmnkly

                                                                          Now that I think of it, I recently bought a can of Progresso whole tomatoes on sale for soup or whatever. I was thinking of Progresso olive oil which she swore by (family in Italy was in the olive business) and that's definitely gone. The tomatoes say "Tomatoes, tomato juice, and less than 2% of salt, basil,citric acid and calcium cloride". What was surprising (to me anyway) was that Progresso is a division of General Mills, so I'm sure it's not exactly the same as the good old days!

                                                                2. With regard to Marinara Sauce:
                                                                  I use the recipe my paternal and maternal Italian family has been making for generations:

                                                                  Olive oil, garlic, canned tomatoes*, (Kosher) salt & FGBlack pepper, red pepper flakes, some basil & oregano (fresh or dried). When you drain the macaroni which has been cooking since before you started your sauce.... the sauce is finished. Couldn't be simpler.
                                                                  Our choice for cheese is imported Pecorino Romano, freshly grated.

                                                                  *While I don't know what kind of tomatoes the family used in Italy, here they & we use Pastene Kitchen Ready - and lately the low sodium preparation. This is probably because the Pastene Company originated in the North End of Boston and they probably wanted to be loyal.....But it has a simple fresh taste that we love.

                                                                  1. I make a tomato sauce with a base of mirepoix and garlic. I then add crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, red wine and spices. This simmers for 2-3 hours and is then pureed and left to reduce.

                                                                    1. These sauces sound delicious! I have always been a jarred sauce kind of girl, working my way through all of the brands trying to find one I am happy with (which has not happened yet) I am going to try making my own this week, but I wondered if anyone had a good recipe for puttanesca, my favorite when eating out!

                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                      1. re: sarahelan


                                                                        Sacue/gravy is so easy to make, and one can adapt it to their own very quickly, you will never want or need to go to jarred again! Heck in the summer,while boiling a half box of spaghetti, I cut up 2 fresh tomatoes, add a pinch of salt to them, saute a couple of cloves of chopped garlic in olive oil, throw in the tomatoes for about 10 minutes. Add lots of fresh ground black pepper, drain spaghetti, add it to the sauce, throw in a couple of handfuls of chopped basil, toss with lots of good parm, voila, dinner for two!

                                                                        Here's a link to puttanesca:


                                                                        1. re: sarahelan

                                                                          Puttanesca has long been my default pasta dish for when I am pressed for time. The sauce is done when the pasta is done (allowing for the time it takes for the water to come to a boil). The proportions are easy to remember:

                                                                          for every 28 oz can of tomatoes (I do mine chunky for this dish, so I just crush them with my hands) you need
                                                                          - 1/2 cup olives (preferably gaeta, but I make substitutions depending on what I have on hand)
                                                                          - 1/4 cup capers, rinsed
                                                                          - 1/8 cup (or 1 TBSP) anchovies ( obviously this is a personal taste issue, you can use more or less).
                                                                          ---see how easy this is to remember- you just divide each main ingredient by half---
                                                                          - 1/4 cup olive oil
                                                                          - 2 cloves garlic, slightly crushed but intact
                                                                          - salt and red pepper flakes to taste

                                                                          The process is simple: heat the oil, saute the garlic until it starts to soften, add the anchovies and let them dissolve into the oil, add the olives, capers and red pepper flakes, toss a bit before adding the tomatoes and salt. Simmer on a medium high flame until the pasta is almost done, add the pasta to the pan with the sauce for the duration of the cooking of the pasta (I find that this really helps with quick sauces because the starch from the pasta 'tightens' up the tendency of these sauces to be watery). Dinner, she is served!

                                                                          A nice cheap Primitivo goes really well with this, fwiw.

                                                                          1. re: TongoRad

                                                                            I will try this this week! Thank you so much!

                                                                        2. I'm glad to hear you say that you'll never go back to jarred sauce again! I always thought that it took little more time to make a "scratch' sauce than it takes to heat up some salty thing from a jar. In any case, a drillion batches later, this is my marinara sauce, mostly from Franco Romagnoli, but also with touches of Rao and Henry Hill. It's absurdly easy:

                                                                          1) With your hands, go through a large (14 1/2 oz) can of whole tomato San Marzanos or a good American brand like Redpack or Muir Glen.. What you're looking for is that mean little yellow blossom end that could make for an unpleasant bite for someone. Throw it out. Add 1/4 teasp. salt and sugar EACH to your picked-through tomatoes.
                                                                          2) in a heavy pot large enough to hold your finished sauce, heat a couple of tablespoons of full flavored olive oil, not expensive EVOO.
                                                                          3) While it's heating, chop TOGETHER on a chopping board a half onion, a GOOD handful of basil and a clove of garlic. What you're doing is to combine the flavor of all 3 into one called a "battudo."(This is the secret to great sauce.) Hold back about 1/4 of the chopped basil. Saute your battudo in the olive oil pot till it's fragrant but not brown.
                                                                          4) Add your tomatoes all at once and sprinkle them with ONLY A PINCH of dried oregano. Let simmer about 25 minutes, lifting off any watery liquid that rises to the top as it cooks. (This stuff is bitter.) Stir occasionally.
                                                                          5) At about 20 minutes, add a good jolt of red wine and the reserved chopped basil. At the 25 minute mark take it off the fire, add a Tablespoon of olive oil and serve.

                                                                          That's it. I don't like it with fresh tomatoes, or strained, or with carrots and/or celery, or tomato paste or meat. Personal preference, I guess, though sometimes I serve roasted sausages on the side along with the sauced pasta. My neighbor, who was an incredible cook. added no salt, but a beef bouillion cube at the end of the cooking time (when he added the red wine) and it was awesome. I haven't tried this yet.

                                                                          If you need a basic and inexpensive Italian cookbook, The Wiseguy Cookbook by Henry Hill is available --used-- on Amazon.com I can't tell you all the times I've referred to this. And think about this: any tomato sauce for pasta you make will probably be pretty healthy. And it will taste twice as good if you top it with real, freshly grated Parmesan cheese.
                                                                          Be well and keep cooking!

                                                                          1. I know San Marzano and Red Pack are good for canned tomatoes, are there any better suggestions? I once in a pinch bought Renzi and ended up throwing out the sauce. I was not happy. They are the nastiest tasting tomatoes ever.

                                                                            What are peoples feeling on the base? Mire poix or only onions and a small bit of carrot?

                                                                            I know some people put a whole carrot and then take it out, in order to cut the acidity. Any thoughts?

                                                                            And I feel that some red pepper flakes are a must. I tend to go towards arrabiatta sauce, but when I make a normal sauce, it's usually just a tbsp of red paper flakes.

                                                                            When I make a meat sauce ,for myself, I occasionally add a little cumin (I love Cumin)

                                                                            Anyone have any little secret additives?

                                                                            6 Replies
                                                                            1. re: jhopp217

                                                                              San Marzano tomatoes from Italy (not those white cans from Calif that say San Marzano). Don't like Red Pack at all, bitter and has green stem ends. For base, I use chopped onions, celery, carrots(equal amounts); sometimes a few mushrooms if I have, and 5 or 6 whole garlic cloves, which I brown and remove before adding the tomatoes. Just how I was taught, I'm not a garlic nut anyway. Best pepper I've found is white pepper, family adds plenty of black pepper AND red pepper flakes at the table. I stopped grating parmesan into the sauce because everyone dumps tons more in at the table, but I now add my stash of parmesan rinds for just a hint of flavor (and I like to eat them when the sauce is done, my special treat). Worchestshire sauce or a couple of anchovies is a good secret ingredient, although I always put the worchestshire in my meatballs rather than the sauce. I love cumin too, but don't think I would ever add it to my sauce. Would be way too untraditional for my family, they're pretty militant about their (my) sauce.

                                                                              1. re: coll

                                                                                Coll I forgot Worchestchire - I always add a little. I am actually funny in that I don't really like to add parmigiana to a tomato sauce unless it's a very light sauce with fresh tomatoes. I think it's wasted on a thick sauce. I love it grated heavily onto pasta with pesto. Or when I make sausage, peas, and bowties in a light garlic and olive oil sauce.

                                                                                1. re: jhopp217

                                                                                  I sometimes add a little Worcestershire sauce to my Spaghetti bolognese, when I'm cooking the ground meat (or veggie meat in my case). And freshly grated parmigiana (or grated smoked mozzerella) is just delicious in a pasta sauce.

                                                                                  1. re: FoodieKat

                                                                                    Look out for the anchovy paste in most Worcestershire sauces if your a vegetarian.

                                                                                    1. re: Alan N

                                                                                      Which is something I never noticed until I was a CH.

                                                                              2. re: jhopp217

                                                                                In terms of heat, I prefer finely ground dried peppers to red pepper flakes. Habanero, chipotle, hot spanish paprika, chili blends, etc. When cooking for myself I use enough to use it as a thickener. How much sauce are you making with your tbsp of RPF's?
                                                                                One of my favorite additives to a thick, savory and spicy tomato based sauce for (1pound) pasta is about a teaspoon of BBQ sauce

                                                                              3. Every September long weekend I get together with 1 or 2 friends and we can tomato sauce. We buy a few cases from the farmer's market and work for 2 days. This gives me enough for a year or two! My new recipe is to roast the tomatoes on the barbecue until the skins blackens, drop them into cold water, slip off the skins. Because I am canning them, I don't use any olive oil. I mince onions and garlic and roast them on a tray in the oven. Cook over medium heat until the desired thickness. Before it is finished I add some basil and a little salt and a little lemon juice. I make a basic sauce and can add flavours as I use them. I can NEVER go back to store bought again! This has been a tradition for the past 10 years. I always have it available for any recipe asking for tomato sauce or even fresh tomatoes that will be sauteed.

                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                1. re: sarah galvin

                                                                                  Hello sarah galvin,
                                                                                  I know it has been awhile since you wrote that post, but I'm hoping you'll check this thread.
                                                                                  A few questions:
                                                                                  Have you made a spicy sauce for canning?
                                                                                  Are you canning or jarring (forgive my ignorance if the answer is obvious)?
                                                                                  Do you know how long your sauces last on your shelf?
                                                                                  Any other details you can share would be great, I want to try this.
                                                                                  Thanks for the idea and giving enough details to make me think "I can do that"

                                                                                2. Home made tomato sauce is so much different (and better IMO) than the jarred stuff. To me, it is so simple to make. You start out by chopping some fresh garlic (I use lots), and lightly sauteeing this in olive oil. Then add some spices, such as basil, oregano, etc. Fresh is best, but I've often relied on dried herbs. I sometimes add either capers or olives to the mix for a little extra zing (and natural saltiness). Then add some chopped onion, let it soften, then add chopped tomatoes (I usually use a mix of fresh and canned), a dash of tomato paste to thicken up the sauce a bit (or tomato passata if you can get it - stewed sieved tomatoes in a vacuum-sealed pack. You can find this at an Italian market or a Trader Joe's), and a pinch of sugar. And then it's up to you if you want to add more veggies, and a dash of either red wine and/or balsamic vinegar. This is how I always make tomato pasta sauce (sometimes I make variations, like puttanesca with tuna, capers, anchovy paste and black olives, bolognese, with meat and bell peppers, or arrabiata, with chile flakes). And I've never gotten any complaints! ;-)

                                                                                  1. Hi all! just made Marcella Hazan's Tomato Sauce with Garlic and Basil (pg. 156 of "Essential"). First time making this recipe. Taste... delicious! My question is that it says quantity for 4 servings, and I will be lucky to get 2 servings out of this. The tomatoes reduced so much on such a high cooking temp for such a lengthy period of time that I am sure that is the reason. So - can someone explain to me why it needs to be cooked on such a high temp for such a long time? Many thanks!

                                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: Tehama

                                                                                      What kind of yield are you getting? Generally speaking, the Italians use very little sauce on their pasta. I wonder if it isn't turning out exactly as intended (which isn't to say that you shouldn't adjust it however you please).

                                                                                      1. re: Dmnkly

                                                                                        Oh interesting... I did not know that Italians use very little sauce. And this sauce in particular was so amazing that I could have eaten it alone without the pasta. With that in mind, I could see 4 servings if used sparingly.

                                                                                        This was the recipe that I used (paraphrased of course!):

                                                                                        * 1 large bunch of fresh basil
                                                                                        * 2 pounds of fresh, ripe tomatoes, or 2 cups canned imported plum tomatoes, drained and cut up
                                                                                        * 5 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped fine
                                                                                        * 5 TBL extra virgin olive oil (e.v.o.o.)
                                                                                        * Salt
                                                                                        * Black pepper, ground fresh

                                                                                        According to Marcella Hazan, then you cook over medium-high heat for
                                                                                        20/25 minutes.

                                                                                        Some of my comments on the recipe:

                                                                                        1. You'll see it says "on large bunch of fresh basil". I'm not really sure what quantity that transfers to... I think I might have used about 20 leaves... I'm kinda basil-crazy, so that might have been more than Marcella intended.
                                                                                        2. I used a 2 lb. can of imported tomatoes instead of fresh ones, but I don't think that harmed the flavor at all
                                                                                        * incidentally, I did not cut the tomatoes up (per the recipe). I just let them reduce on their own
                                                                                        3. It calls for 5 TBL e.v.o.o.; I used 3 TBL butter and 2 TBL e.v.o.o. just because I love the richness of butter!
                                                                                        4. Finally, it says 4 servings for the quantity. It filled about 2/3 of a plastic Chinese-soup-take-out-container... I don't think that was enough for 4 servings, but I guess that is a personal preference.

                                                                                        1. re: Tehama

                                                                                          If you want easy, use can opener. To excel go from scratch.
                                                                                          Most of these receipts are several cuts above adequate, so I'll just do a few hints, add ons.

                                                                                          Use fresh tomatoes, Plum, chopped. Mashed garlic-(under the flat side of your knife)-into virgin olive oil thin covering on bottom of pot.

                                                                                          All those extras, sliced carrot ,onion, parsley,purple basil, sweet tropical oregano+ your favorite, go in a bouquet Garni' tied up in cheesecloth purse for disposal in the dogs kennel-ration at end., place this in middle of the tomatoes.

                                                                                          Add Port wine for sweet--Sherry for dry--Your taste--don't mix!.

                                                                                          The one--Must Have spice, for spaghetti sauce-(didn't see it anywhere here??)-when you taste it you'll know what's been missing---Marjoram!!--.

                                                                                          Bring to boil--turn down to a bubble. Cover with small steam escape.
                                                                                          Depending on amount you want, keep on bubble all day or till just thickens to cling factor.

                                                                                          Give garni to dog--reverse cheesecloth and toss. If you have one, turn sauce through ricer, otherwise go with rough Sicilian sauce.

                                                                                          Bon appitito!

                                                                                    2. I like Francis Ford Coppola's Tomato Sauce (Pomodoro Basilico) recipe. It's a good basic recipe. Here's the link:

                                                                                      1. I strongly suggest to anybody interested in tomato sauce to go immediately to Lynne Rosetto Kasper's "The Italian Country Table" and read the section on tomato sauce. What she does is identify four key families of tomato sauce, from quick cooked and fresh to long slow simmer following a high heat carmelizing saute. It's the single best discussion I've ever read on the topic, and after going to it time and again over the last few years, I now feel confident that I can throw together a tomato sauce to fit my whim of the moment using only the techniques she teaches. A seminal work.

                                                                                        1. you can tell who the real italians are. we call it gravey, to everyone else it's sauce. make it the way you want it's all good but my grandmother from italy, God rest her soul, always started by frying garlic in olive oil. when the garlic started to brown she would take it out and i would eat it and have garlic breath for two days. the next step was to fry tomatoe paste in the garlic infused oil for a few minits, then add your other cans of tomatoes and ingredients. she used to cook it for hours which i think was unnecessary but did not hurt it.

                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                          1. re: Welcoboy

                                                                                            Hazan's carbonara starts with "frying" the whole garlic cloves in the oil and then removing them. I think it's a key component.

                                                                                          2. I like Marcella Hazan's tomato sauce with anchovies from her Essentials book - saute minced garlic in about a 1/3 cup of olive oil, turn off heat, add about 5 anchovies and mash them up, then add a 14 oz can of whole tomatoes w/juice and mash that up as well (I use a potato masher). Turn heat back on and simmer for about 20 min and then sprinkle with fresh chopped parsley. It's really simple and really tasty. The anchovies add a lot of umami flavor without making the sauce taste fishy. Her recipe calls for a double boiler when adding the anchovies but I just turn the heat off when adding them to the pan and mashing them.

                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: Mr_Happy

                                                                                              Here is my no meat tomato sauce, made with meat. I sauté 3 cloves of garlic until soft, add a can of tomatoe paste, 3 cans (16 0z) of those highly debated San Marzano tomatoes (hand crushed), a cup of water (or vino) if it's too thick, fresh oregano, fresh basil, bring to a boil. I add 3 italian sausages, half a rack of baby back ribs, sometimes a lamb chop, and simmer for about an hour. Then remove the meat, save for another meal or a snack. I am making this again tomorrow for friends. Always with fresh parmesan. bonne chance.

                                                                                              1. re: Mr_Happy

                                                                                                Hazan's insistence on a double boiler for anchovies seems odd to me, considering the fact that the anchovies mash perfectly fine with the residual heat from the pan. I usually go along with it when I make the cauliflower and broccoli sauce recipes, because I already have a pot of water boiling for the cauliflower or broccoli.

                                                                                                As far as mashing the tomatoes go, I just squeeze them with my hand. It's more fun, works great, and doesn't require any clean-up!

                                                                                              2. I make a cooked summer sauce; in general heavy on the odori (garlic, shallot, celery, carrot) and cook out as much liquid as possible; best to do most of this before adding tomato pulp. For a summer sauce I chop fresh tomatos (homegrown- you can no longer buy fresh tomatos any time of year) with fresh basil and marjoram and toasted garlic, drain in a seive for several hours

                                                                                                1. Buy Marcella Hazan's Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking. She has several great tomato sauces, including an incredibly easy tomato, onion, and butter sauce that I made last night and a remarkable tomato sauce with vegetables al crudo (not sauteed first). These sauces take 5-10 minutes to prepare, if that, but there is 30-45 minutes of simmering.

                                                                                                  1. We recommend either San Marzano or Mezzo Tempo Tomatoes for a tomato sauce with real umami. Here's 3 real Italian Mamma recipes to share, each just a little different including one using cherry tomatoes http://www.italiasweetitalia.com/toma...