There are a few things I love to have cooking in my house: bread, chocolate chip cookies, and tomato sauce. They are simply the best smells in the world. Making my own tomato sauce is a luxury, a time luxury. It has to simmer, there is no alternative. It doesn’t take as long as you might think, but the payoff is worth it.
I make a very simple tomato sauce. Just the basics for me, onions, garlic, olive oil, good tomatoes, bay leaf, salt, and basil – that’s it. All good things.
I’m such a sucker for Italian food, I love it all. The perfect simplicity and healthfulness of it makes it something I could eat everyday. I was so fortunate to be in Sicily for 3 months when I was in the Air Force and I could have stayed forever. My memories of that time are centered around the food I was so fortunate to explore. That is really when my love of food began.
This sauce can be made the day of, the day before, or a few days before. It will last for 5 days in the fridge, but it can also be frozen. It only gets better with time, that’s when you know it’s good. Don’t ever let anyone scoff at you for using canned tomatoes, they are absolutely essential in this sauce – there is no substitute. I use San Marzano tomatoes. They have the most amazing flavor. If you use good ingredients, you don’t need a lot of extra spices to make it taste good. It’s tomato sauce, you want to taste tomatoes…good tomatoes.
Use this sauce over delicious pasta, gnocchi, as a pizza sauce, for shakshuka, and anything else your heart desires. It’s such a delight.
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 small white onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2, 28 ounce can San Marzano tomatoes
- 1 bay leaf
- 1-1.5 teaspoons kosher salt
- 6 large fresh basil leaves, torn into small pieces
- Over medium heat, add olive oil and onions to a medium dutch oven or stock pot
- Saute for 5 minutes and add garlic, stirring for 1 minute
- Add tomatoes, bay leaf, and 1 teaspoon salt
- Using an immersion blender, blend up the big tomatoes just until they are not in big chunks
- Bring to a simmer and reduce heat just to a light simmer for 45 minutes with the lid on, but cracked so steam can escape
- When sauce is done simmering, taste to see if you need to add more salt and add torn basil and stir
- Use immediately, or let it cool and store in refrigerator for 5 days