Tomato sauce. Red sauce. Gravy. Pomodoro. Call it whatever you want, you know what I’m talking about. It’s that classic cooked tomato sauce. It’s super quick and simple to make, and when done right is so, so good. There are only a handful of ingredients, so like always, just make sure you get the best ones you can. Most importantly get good tomato puree. You can also opt for whole or crushed canned tomatoes, just make sure to take out any seeds and blend up those tomatoes if you want a smooth sauce. In this case I did, so tomato puree it was.
The one major tip I have for making a good tomato sauce is using enough olive oil. I feel like sometimes people think of tomato sauce like a “diet” sauce, just some cooked tomatoes and aromatics. Yeah, ok you can do that, but I’ll be over here adding in a proper amount of olive oil and putting your’s to shame. That’s it folks, the key to a great tomato sauce is adding in enough olive oil. Don’t be hesitant. You want the fat in there. Tomatoes have plenty of oil soluble flavor compounds so add in those lipids. I promise the sauce won’t be greasy, it’ll just be delicious.
The one major tip I have for making a good tomato sauce is using enough olive oil.
but you can call it gravy, red sauce, pomodoro, whatever
- 1/4 c Olive Oil
- 1/2 Onion – white or yellow works – fine dice
- 2 Cloves Garlic – optional
- Tomato Puree
This is a pretty quick sauce, it cooks in about 20-30 minutes but those 20-30 minutes are key. You want the raw, super acidic flavor or the tomatoes to cook off and some of the sugars to caramelize and give a slight sweetness to the sauce. The flavors need to balance out. If you need to, feel free to add in a small pinch of sugar, be judicious then adjust if needed, you don’t want it overly sweet.
To start, get your saucepan over medium heat and add in your oil and onion and season with some salt. Let those onions sweat till they’re translucent and smell slightly sweet. Maybe 5 or so minutes.
Next, add in your garlic. I only like a hint of garlic, if any, sometimes I make this with no garlic at all. If you want a stronger hit of garlic you can crush it, or if you want even more garlicky flavor, finely mince it. Totally up to you, just add it in now and let it cook till it’s aromatic, maybe a minute.
Then, add in your tomato puree, some additional salt to season and then let it simmer, uncovered, on low to medium heat for 20 minutes. Stir occasionally so you don’t burn the bottom. After 20 minutes check your sauce for seasoning and add in some more salt if you need it or a small pinch of sugar if it’s still overly acidic. Then let it cook for maybe another 10 minutes.
The sauce should have reduced a bit by now and taken on a brick red color rather than that bright red, raw tomato color. I would recommend tossing this with some pasta, topping with a good drizzle of olive oil and some cheese. Basil would probably be nice too. Eat up!