Hands-On Time
10 Mins
Total Time
50 Mins
Yield
Makes 
1½ quarts, serves 12
Westend61/Getty Images

How to Make It

Step 1

Cook olive oil, onion, garlic, celery, and 2 teaspoons of salt in a large saucepan over low heat for 15 minutes, being careful not to brown. This step, called “sweating,” develops layers of flavor and should not be rushed.

Step 2

Add oregano and tomato paste and cook for 1 minute, being careful not to burn. Tomato paste adds the concentrated flavor you’d get from slow roasting the tomatoes.

Step 3

Add tomatoes, their juice, and sugar to the saucepan. With an immersion blender, break down the sauce. (Alternatively, simply crush tomatoes with your hands before adding to the pot).

Step 4

With the pot partially covered, simmer the mixture over low heat for 30 minutes. Stir in the remaining salt. Add the butter, stir until melted. 
 

Step 5

Add a Parmesan rind to the sauce when you’re simmering the tomatoes. Much of it will dissolve, adding a layer of salty cheese flavor. Be sure to discard any rind remains after simmering.

Step 6

Stir in one tablespoon of washed capers during Step 1 (the sweating phase), which will add a dash of salty acidity that will brighten and intensify the sauce’s tomato flavor.

Step 7

Add a dollop of anchovy paste while stirring in the butter. Available in shelf-stable tubes near the canned fish section of your grocery store, it adds a delightful salty-meaty flavor to foods (not fishiness!).

Chef's Notes

Plus three variations:

  1. Add a Parmesan rind to the sauce when you’re simmering the tomatoes. Much of it will dissolve, adding a layer of salty cheese flavor. Be sure to discard any rind remains after simmering.
  2. Stir in one tablespoon of washed capers during Step 1 (the sweating phase), which will add a dash of salty acidity that will brighten and intensify the sauce’s tomato flavor.
  3. Add a dollop of anchovy paste while stirring in the butter. Available in shelf-stable tubes near the canned fish section of your grocery store, it adds a delightful salty-meaty flavor to foods (not fishiness!).

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