Recipe by Chef John
"This is one of my most requested food wishes, my all-purpose basic tomato sauce. Whenever I make a meat sauce, this is my base. You can only stir this with a wooden spoon, otherwise it's bad luck."
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onion, finely diced
celery, finely diced
2 (28 ounce) cans
whole peeled San Marzano tomatoes
white wine vinegar
dried Italian herbs
red pepper flakes
chopped Italian flat-leaf parsley
water, or as needed
I've made this twice exactly as written, and it is excellent. I like to add a bit of brown sugar near the end of it's simmer time to counter the acid and add a mellow note. Then I began to play with it. Balsamic vinegar (white or red) is a nice substitution. I was out of celery once and no one noticed, so I don't bother with it anymore. They're also just as happy with my quick-cooked take on this which uses (don't judge!) dried minced onions and only simmers for 30 minutes. It's more of a dump-and-cook affair. It tastes almost exactly like the longer-cooking original with much less time and effort. Most of the time I do it quick, but sometimes I bring the love with fresh onions and let it simmer it all day. Fast or slow, this is amazing tomato sauce, on par with the best of the restaurant sauces.
Since I live overseas I find it annoying that ingredients like these are used. In looking for a recipe for tomato sauce i was hoping for something from scratch. I can't find specialty items such as "2 28 ounce cans whole peeled San Marzano tomatoes". Only import stores where I live even carry tomato sauce and that is sporadic. I'll keep experimenting on my own.
This sauce has many uses. My wife doesn't like the anchovy paste, so I used beef soup base ("Better the Bullion") instead, before adding in my beef meatballs. She loved it. You could also use their chicken soup base if using chicken in your recipe.
A nice chunky tomato sauce. I think the 1/4 cup of oil is too much oil though. I couldn't get it to boil down to dry. Next time I will try 1/8 cup olive oil.
This is a great vegetarian sauce and the best meat sauce I've tried. An old Italian cook once said "you have to use your hands or it's no good". Maybe that's the secret but I think it's the anchovies and bit of sugar. I forgot the sugar once and it was a little flat and not as good. -- Coegee
Terrific base recipe, Chef. It is so easy to personalize that I keep a goodly amount in the freezer. You always share wonderful recipes and keep me busy in the kitchen.
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.
Chef John's Tomato Sauce
Serving Size: 1/8 of a recipe
Servings Per Recipe: 8
Amount Per Serving
Calories from Fat: 64
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