Simple tomato sauce recipe

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There are a hundred things you can do with a good tomato sauce: bake eggs in it, top pizza with it, braise chicken in it, turn it into soup, or, you know, put it over pasta. For a more intense sauce, let it simmer for up to 45 minutes, but keep stirring it, otherwise the bottom will scorch.

  • Yield: 6 cups


  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • ⅛ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 (28-ounce) cans whole peeled tomatoes
  • Kosher salt
  • Sugar (optional)
How to Make It
  1. Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven or soup pot over medium heat. When the oil is warm, add the onion and cook, stirring, until softened and starting to look golden, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic, oregano, and red pepper flakes and cook until the garlic has softened (don’t let it brown), 3 to 5 minutes more. If things ever start to look dry, add a little more olive oil.
  2. Add the tomatoes and their juices to the pot, crushing them with your hands as you add them. Add 2 teaspoons kosher salt and raise the heat to medium-high. When the sauce starts to boil, lower the heat until it’s at a steady simmer. Cook the sauce like this, occasionally stirring and scraping the bottom of the pot, until the sauce has visibly thickened and reduced, 20 to 30 minutes.
  3. Remove the pot from the heat. Use an immersion blender to puree the sauce about halfway—or, if you like a really smooth sauce, puree it completely. (Alternatively, you can blend the sauce in batches in a countertop blender, but be careful—the steam from the hot liquid can blow the lid off. Remove the center cap from the lid to allow steam to escape, and hold a dish towel over the hole when blending.) Taste the sauce and adjust the seasoning. It may need more salt, but if it’s tasting too acidic or metallic, it may actually need a little bit of sugar—start with ¼ teaspoon, taste, and add more if necessary.
  4. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 6 months.

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