The secret to excellent tomato sauce? According to F&W's Grace Parisi, the trick is starting with superlative whole (not crushed) tomatoes and simmering them with whole (not chopped) garlic cloves. The result: A classic marinara that can quickly be spun into all sorts of variations.
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1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 garlic cloves, peeled
1 tablespoon tomato paste
One 35-ounce can whole peeled Italian tomatoes with their juices, crushed by hand
Pinch of sugar
2 basil sprigs
Salt and freshly ground pepper
How to Make It
In a large saucepan, heat the oil. Add the garlic and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 5 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the canned tomatoes with their juices. Stir in the sugar and basil, season with salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Simmer the sauce over low heat, stirring occasionally, until it thickens and is reduced to 3 cups, about 30 minutes. Season again with salt and pepper. Discard the basil sprigs and garlic.
The sauce can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.
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