The recipe for this tomato sauce comes straight from an Italian, so you know it must be heavenly. I picture a portly Italian grandmother slaving over a stove, tasting, adjusting seasonings, tasting some more, all to ensure the perfect sauce for her mama's boy whose cheek she squeezes as he comes into the kitchen raving about the alluring smell.
Ok, so that's probably more the scene surrounding the creation of a bolognese. This sauce, on the other hand, is bright and simple, requiring less time and attention. It's an uncomplicated sauce with few ingredients, so it's imperative that they be of the best quality (read: yes, you really need to hunt down San Marzano tomatoes; if you're in Kansas City, Bella Napoli has them).
Here's all that you need:
- 2 cloves garlic, sliced Goodfellas thin
- 1/4 cup high quality olive oil
- 1 medium onion, finely diced
- 10-12 basil leaves, rolled tightly then sliced thin (chiffonade)
- 2 28 oz. cans San Marzano tomatoes, puréed
- Heat olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat, erring on the side of heat too low. Add the garlic and sauté for 5 minutes, taking extreme care to keep the garlic from browning, as it will become bitter and RUIN YOUR SAUCE. (I'm just sayin'.)
- Add onion and basil and sauté until onion is translucent.
- Add tomato purée and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add salt to taste. Don't be surprised if you need close to a tablespoon of salt. The level of salt needed will depend on what you use it for, however, so it's best to wait to finalize seasonings once you have the entire dish together (ex: gnocchi will likely require more salt in the sauce than eggplant parmesan).