Fresh Tomato Sauce

posted in: Main Dish, Pasta, Vegetarian        date:

Fresh Tomato Sauce

In season tomatoes are something to truly be savored. Their season is fleeting and is usually gone before I know it, which is all the more reason to enjoy them when they’re at their peak. I’m usually fine making tomato sauce from canned tomatoes, but I can’t bring myself to do that during summer when so many varieties of fresh tomatoes are available from local farmers. This part of Virginia is known for Hanover tomatoes, and there are signs at the farmers market announcing their arrival as soon as they become available. Not being a native Virginian, I have no idea where the tomatoes originated. I can tell you, however, that they make darn fine tomato sauce.

The beauty of this tomato sauce lies in its simplicity. A few ingredients come together to create phenomenal flavor. The original recipe didn’t use garlic or onion, but apparently I’m incapable of making pasta sauce without it (for proof, see my Vodka Pasta post). In addition to the garlic, onion and tomatoes, the only other thing we use in this sauce is fresh basil. We’ve used this tomato sauce for lasagna, stuffed shells and spaghetti, and it makes all of them shine. You really can’t beat the flavor of fresh, in season (and local, to boot) tomatoes, and this sauce really lets that flavor through.

Fresh Tomato Sauce

  • YIELD: about 1 quart
  • 4 pounds ripe tomatoes, cored

  • Small yellow onion, finely diced

  • 3 garlic cloves, minced

  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

  • 1

    Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Prepare an ice bath and place near the stove.

    Using a paring knife, cut a shallow x onto the bottom of each tomato. Carefully add the tomatoes to the boiling water and cook until the skins split, 15 to 20 seconds. Using a slotted spoon, remove the tomatoes and place immediately into the ice bath. When they have cooled completely, removed the skins and discard.

    Quarter the tomatoes. Set a fine mesh sieve over a bowl and squeeze the seeds and juice into it. Once all the tomatoes have been squeezed, press on the seeds to extract as much tomato juice as possible. Chop the tomatoes and set aside.

  • 2

    Heat about a tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet set over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook until softened, 3-4 minutes. Add the garlic and continue cooking until fragrant, about a minute more. Stir in tomatoes and their juices. Cook until sauce reaches a simmer, then reduce heat to medium-low.

    Cook, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes are tender, 20-25 minutes. Add salt and pepper as needed, then stir in the basil. Serve with your favorite pasta.

COMMENTS: ( 16 )
  • Great timing for this recipe, as I just picked a half dozen tomatoes yesterday from my little garden yesterday. Of course, after the tomato sandwiches for dinner, and on top of my turkey sandwich today, I might need to wait for more to ripen before I can make sauce ^_~. Great share!

  • I have always wanted to make fresh tomato sauce, I think this may be the recipe! Looks easy & delicious!

  • Blog is the New Black

    Looks great! I want to make some and freeze it for the winter. 🙂

  • Simple and delicious. I make something similar and its truly amazing how much flavour you can get from just using a few ingredients

  • That sounds perfect! I’m going to try canning tomatoes and sauce this summer for the first time and can’t wait! Opening a jar from the shelf or freezer in January will be so, so good 🙂

  • The Café Sucré Farine

    Looks and sounds wonderful! Thanks so much as I have quite a plethora of tomatoes coming up in the garden!

  • Michael

    I think you guys should invest in a CSA next year, not only for the fresh organic produce every week, but so I can see what you do with it all and get ideas for myself!

    I love your blog.

    How long do you supposed a sauce like this would last in the freezer?

    • Courtney

      We thought about doing that this year, but could never make up our minds. I think the sauce will last about 3 months (that seems to be the standard I found when Googling, at least).

  • Kevin

    I freeze sauce every year. I use a stock pot and a outside turkey fryer stove. No hot kitchen. I grow paste tomatoes and they are about ready.

  • Bridget

    I love your recipes! So glad a mutual friend turned me on to your site! Have you done much canning in the past? My husband and I attempted it for the first time for our one year anniversary last September, but my my food safety conscious mother put the fear of God in me about botulism, etc. Any plans on doing some canning tutorials? (I always find yours so much more entertaining/informational than what’s already out there!)

    • Courtney

      I haven’t, but I’m hoping to before summer ends. I also have food safety fears, but I picked up a few books from the library in hopes of quelling those fears and finally trying to can something.

  • DanellesDish

    Wow this looks so good. I have fresh basil in my garden and cannot wait to try it!!

  • Marybelle

    This sauce is so good! I found your site through Foodgawker. Sadly, when I made this I had a straining malfunction (as in I erroneously used cheesecloth after misplacing my strainer) and most of the seeds remained in the sauce. Oh well… still a delicious recipe! Thanks!

  • Cristine Christoff

    I just started canning and it a whole lot easier then you think 🙂 also if you cut an x at the top and the bottom of the tomatoes they peel just that much easier…. Love your blog came across it on pinterest!

  • Jessica

    I’ve never canned before so how do you seal the jars so the sauce keeps longer than a few days?

    • You can freeze this sauce for up to three months, but I do not recommend canning it. In order to make this recipe appropriate for canning, you’d have to add lemon juice to each jar and process them in a boiling water bath. Since canning with tomatoes is so exact, I would recommend using a recipe that’s specifically meant for canning, such as this one: