This is the simplest and quickest way to make good tomato sauce any night of the week. I’ll be showing you how to make a simple 5 ingredients tomato sauce. This is the perfect recipe when you want to get something good and fast on the dinner table and you don't have all day to do it.
I just want to preface this by saying as an Italian, we cook things differently all throughout Italy. I’m not saying my way is better than your way, or that this is the best way. This is how I do it so let’s get into this.
Buying your Tomatoes
If you want good tomato sauce, you need good tomatoes. Here in New York City, we don’t get fresh tomatoes year-round. My issue with tomatoes (I have a whole thing with tomatoes) is that you need to find a tomatoes you like, to make a sauce you like.
Generally, people like to use San Marzano tomatoes that come straight from Italy. If you are going to go that route be sure you are buying a brand that is certified. It should contain a stamp or an indication that is DOP Certified. There are brands who claim to be certified but don't sport the DOP logo or stamp. You’ll be paying more for the Certified kind, so be sure they are legit.
Processing your Tomatoes
I like to use a Food Mill. I find that I get the smoothest consistency. I like a smooth tomato sauce. You could also get a similar consistency using a blender, just don’t blend on high speed. Or you could just tear the tomatoes apart by hand if you like it chunkier.
Time to cook!
We are cooking this in a skillet and not a deep saucepan because we want the sauce to cook and reduce fast. The skillet gives us the wider cooking surface to accomplish that.
28oz Can of Whole Peeled Plum San Marzano Tomatoes
4 cloves of Garlic (Thinly Sliced)
A handful of basil (with stems)
¼ cup Olive Oil
½ cup Parmesan Cheese
Prep your ingredients
Using a food mill (or Blender) - Add the whole can of tomatoes to the food mill and process the tomatoes until you are left with a thin, smooth consistency
Thinly slice the garlic cloves
Gently wash and dry your basil
Grate the parmesan cheese
Start the cooking
In a large skillet, enough olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan on a low heat
Add garlic and basil to the pan (we are adding this while the oil is still cold)
Slowly steep these ingredients together. (we are looking for the oil to take in a lot of garlic and basil flavor.)
Remove the basil once it has wilted and starts to brown. (3-4 mins, optionally you can leave it in as well)
Add the tomato puree
Bring the heat to medium - high and continue to stir. The idea is to make the oil and the tomatoes and homogenous, emulsified sauce. So it will look a little broken now, but over the cooking process it should come together.
Add a generous pinch of salt and continue to stir. We are cooking this hard and fast - so we will start to see a rapid bubble popping starting to occur on the surface of our sauce. That’s okay. That’s what we’re looking for. Just make sure you don’t burn the sauce once the water starts to cook out of the tomatoes.
Once the sauce has come together add ⅓ cup of parmesan cheese (or more - there is no such thing as too much parmesan cheese) to your sauce. Stir to combine. Lower the heat on the stove and bring your sauce to a slow simmer.
When you cook any pasta for this, cook it in salty boiling water, but cook it 2 minutes less than the package instructs. The final two minutes, the pasta should finish cooking in the sauce to help thicken the sauce and help the pasta absorb the sauce. Then finish with some more cheese and basil.
Your sauce is ready to eat.