Simple Tomato Sauce

I've made tomato sauce so many different ways -- with canned tomatoes, with fresh tomatoes, with butter, with olive oil, with onions, with meat. Some are complicated all-day affairs, and some are quick to throw together and simmer for only 30 minutes. This particular tomato sauce falls in the latter category and uses fresh plum tomatoes, a little garlic, and some olive oil to make a simple sauce that I used in two other recipes.

Plum tomatoes

It also involves a step I've never tried before: scraping the tomatoes against a box grater. This allows you to separate the pulp from the skins and easily discard the skins. (Just be careful to keep your fingers out of the way.)

The recipe comes from Domenica Marchetti's The Glorious Pasta of Italy, which is quickly becoming one of my favorite cookbooks. I flip through it on a regular basis to find dinner ideas.

Simple Tomato Sauce (adapted from The Glorious Pasta of Italy)
Makes about 3 cups


3 pounds plum tomatoes
2 garlic cloves, lightly crushed
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt


Cut the tomatoes in half lengthwise, and scoop out the seeds with your fingers. It's easiest to do this over a bowl set next to your cutting board. Once you're done, discard the seeds.

Place a box grater on a cutting board with a moat, and hold the cut side of each tomato half against the large holes of the grater, and grate until all that's left in your hand is the skin. Discard skins. Periodically scoop up the pulp and transfer it to a large bowl so as not to crowd your cutting board.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic, and press down on it with a wooden spoon to infuse the oil.

After 2 minutes, when the garlic starts to sizzle but hasn't turned brown, carefully stir in the tomato pulp.

Season with 1 teaspoon salt, raise heat to medium-high, and bring the sauce to a simmer.

Reduce heat to medium-low, and let tomatoes simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 25 to 30 minutes, or until thickened.

Simple tomato sauce

Serve with pasta, or use in any recipe that calls for a simple tomato sauce.

Store in fridge in an airtight container for up to 3 days, or freeze for up to 3 months.

Come back tomorrow for a recipe that calls for this tomato sauce.

Do you have a tried-and-true tomato sauce recipe?