Basic Tomato Sauce from Fresh Tomatoes

F&W's Grace Parisi keeps her tomato sauce simple to let the deep flavors of summer tomatoes come through. Plus, a straightforward sauce is easier to transform—with a few additions, it can become anything from a Bloody Mary mix to a vegetable curry.

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  • Servings: Makes 6 pints


  • 10 pounds tomatoes, coarsely chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 6 large garlic cloves, very thinly sliced
  • 3/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 3 large basil sprigs
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper

How to make this recipe

  1. In a large pot, combine the tomatoes with the water, cover and cook over moderate heat until the tomatoes are softened and soupy, about 15 minutes. Set a food mill over a very large bowl. Add the tomatoes and puree them into the bowl. You should have about 18 cups.

  2. Wipe out the pot and heat the olive oil in it. Add the garlic and crushed red pepper and cook over very low heat until softened, about 1 minute. Add the tomato puree, basil and sugar and season with salt and pepper. Simmer over low heat until the sauce is thickened and reduced to 12 cups, about 2 hours. Discard the basil. Let the sauce cool, then pour into six 1-pint plastic containers and freeze for up to 4 months.

Contributed By Photo ABBY HOCKING Published August 2010

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