Simple Tomato Sauce

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SERVESDresses 3/4 pound pasta: 3

Simple Tomato Sauce


Given that good fresh tomatoes are a rare commodity and that we wanted a tomato sauce recipe that home cooks could use year-round, we decided to use canned tomatoes. After conducting a number of tests, we determined the crucial ingredients ...





If you use whole canned tomatoes, avoid those packed in sauce or puree, which results in a dull, relatively flavorless sauce without the interplay of sweetness and acidity. If you choose Muir Glen Diced Tomatoes instead, use the can's entire contents, without discarding any liquid. The pasta and sauce quantities can be doubled, but you will have to simmer the sauce for an extra five or six minutes to thicken it. Note that the salt in this recipe is added in two batches; if you are using the sauce for something other than pasta, simply salt to taste rather than adding the second quantity of salt. Although 3/4 of a pound of pasta may seem an odd quantity, a full pound of pasta will dilute the sauce, resulting in a lack of flavor.



If using diced tomatoes, go to step


If using whole tomatoes, drain and reserve liquid. Dice tomatoes either by hand or in work bowl of food processor fitted with metal blade (three or four pulses at 1/2 second). Tomatoes should be coarse, with 1/4-inch pieces visible. If necessary, add enough reserved liquid to tomatoes to total 2 cups.


Mix garlic with 1 teaspoon water in small bowl. Heat oil and garlic mixture in 10-inch sauté pan over medium heat until fragrant but not brown, about 2 minutes. Stir in tomatoes; simmer until thickened slightly, about 10 minutes. Stir in basil, sugar, and salt, and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Serve over pasta.