Batali’s Basic Tomato Sauce

Who knew making your own tomato sauce could be so easy and tasty!  When I bought Mario Batali’s cookbook, Molto Italiano, I was excited to get down and dirty with some of his recipes.  But first, I’d have to make my own sauce.  I was surprised at how such few basic ingredients could make a subtle yet tasty difference to your everyday pasta.  All you need are carrots, onions, garlic, canned whole tomatoes, olive oil, and thyme.  I found it strange that thyme was the herb of choice instead of something basil.

I’ve always heard about San Marzano tomatoes, but I never quite understood what made them so special.

Behold, the San Marzano tomato on the left, and the generic brand on the right.  Enough said.

Just saute up your veggies and herbs.

Add your tomatoes.

And simma down!

I guess it doesn’t look that impressive, but it made my pasta dish pretty tasty.  I’m sure most people wouldn’t really know the difference between the jarred version of sauce and a homemade one, but I’ve been using jarred pastas for a while and have never found one I really liked.  I don’t think I can go back to the jar.

Batali’s Basic Tomato Sauce

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 Spanish onion, 1/4-inch dice

4 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced

3 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme leaves, or 1 tablespoon dried

1/2 medium carrot, finely grated

2 (28-ounce) cans peeled whole tomatoes, crushed by hand and juices reserved


1.  In a 3-quart saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat.

2.  Add the onion and garlic, and cook until soft and light golden brown, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add the thyme and carrot, and cook 5 minutes more, until the carrot is quite soft.

3.  Add the tomatoes and juice and bring to a boil, stirring often. Lower the heat and simmer for 30 minutes until as thick as hot cereal.

4.  Season with salt and serve. This sauce holds 1 week in the refrigerator or up to 6 months in the freezer.

Stay tuned to see what I made with the sauce!

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