Fresh Basil Tomato Sauce

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I have been waiting all summer for these beauties to arrive in my garden.


They make the best tomato sauce.  If you can’t find San Marzano tomatoes, use any other kind of farmer’s market tomatoes, they will all work.

I actually didn’t weigh my tomatoes for this recipe, and that is the beauty of tomato sauce.  You don’t need exact measurements.  After lifting the bowl of them, I approximated I had about 4 pounds.  You can, and should, double this recipe.  If you are going through the trouble of making the world’s best tomato sauce, please do yourself a favor and save some in the freezer. Come fall, you will thank yourself.

First things first. You want to get the skin off the tomatoes, then the seeds out. Both can lend to a bitterness that you do not want in this sauce. You simply need to score the tomatoes, drop in boiling water for 10 seconds and then run under cold water.  The skins will slip right off.


Not a pretty sight but this is what you are left with before making the sauce.

Next, a coarse chop of onions and carrots.  If you choose not to puree your sauce at the end (I do half and half to leave some texture), you can chop them even finer.


Then the garlic.  Lots of garlic!


A long, slow simmer is key for delicious sauce.  And, voila, its done. You’ll never go back to store bought again!


Basil Tomato Sauce

I encourage you to try and find San Marzano tomatoes, but really, any fresh tomatoes will do.

Makes about 2 quarts


4 pounds San Marzano, or other heirloom, tomatoes
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 large carrot, peeled and chopped
1 large yellow onion, peeled and chopped
salt and pepper, to taste
3 large cloves garlic, minced or pressed
splash of balsamic vinegar, or red wine
I large handful basil, sliced


  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and make an X in each tomato.  Place all the tomatoes in the boiling water for 10 to 20 seconds, drain and place in a bowl of cold water.
  2. When the tomatoes have cooled, peel the skins off and with your fingers, work out the seeds and top of the tomato.  It’s okay if you leave a few seeds behind.
  3. In a large sauce pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat.  Add the onion, carrots and a large pinch of salt and pepper.  Sauté until soft and translucent, being careful not to burn, about 5-7 minutes.
  4. Add the garlic and sauce for another 30 seconds, stirring often.
  5. Add the tomatoes, stir into the other vegetables and bring to a slow simmer.  Simmer, uncovered, for at least 45 minutes, until sauce has thickened.
  6. At this point, taste the sauce. If it tastes a little flat, throw in a healthy splash of balsamic or red wine. Add a little more salt and pepper.
  7. You can now puree all the sauce if you like a very smooth sauce.  Or you can puree just half, or none at all.  Your choice.  In any event, be careful with hot liquids and the blender.  Only fill it half way and allow the steam to escape.
  8. Place all the sauce back in the pot and add the basil. Simmer for another five minutes, taste, and serve.

Copyright© Heather Carey, MS 2015

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