Chef John's Tomato Sauce Recipe - Allrecipes.com
Chef John's Tomato Sauce  Recipe
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Chef John’s Tomato Sauce
See how Chef John makes his delicious, all-purpose tomato sauce. See more
  • READY IN 2 hr

Chef John's Tomato Sauce

Recipe by  

"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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Ingredients Edit and Save

Original recipe makes 8 servings Change Servings
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  • PREP

    15 mins
  • COOK

    1 hr 45 mins
  • READY IN

    2 hrs

Directions

  1. Place olive oil, onion, celery, and a pinch of salt into a large heavy saucepan or Dutch oven over medium-low heat. Cook until onions are very soft, about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Mix garlic into onion mixture and cook just until fragrant, about 1 more minute.
  2. Pour tomatoes and their juice into a large mixing bowl and use your hands to crush the tomatoes until they look pureed.
  3. Mix sugar, 1 teaspoon salt, anchovy paste, white wine vinegar, Italian herbs, and red pepper flakes into vegetable mixture. Raise heat to medium and cook just until liquid has evaporated. Stir in tomato paste and bring to a simmer. Pour in San Marzano tomatoes and parsley. Bring sauce to a simmer, turn heat to low, and simmer for 1 1/2 hours, adding a little water as the sauce cooks down. Stir occasionally.
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Reviews More Reviews

Dec 01, 2013

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.

 
Apr 22, 2014

I cut the recipe in half for my family of four and this sauce was great tossed with some sausage and pasta. I omitted the anchovy paste and used a can of petite diced tomatoes...I was able to skip the step where you were supposed to hand-squash the tomatoes too. I also only simmered it for about 30 mins. It still came out great! This is a great recipe if you don't have a jar of sauce on hand or want something that tastes more like it came from a nice restaurant.

 
Jan 15, 2014

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.

 
May 04, 2014

I used 2 anchovy fillets while sauteing (sweating) the onion and celery. This is such a good sauce - although I would probably cut back on the amount of oil next time. As for those who are against anchovies - don't be! You'd never know they were there and they dissolve into nothing but flavor - no fish chunks or anything. I loved this and will make it again.

 
Dec 13, 2013

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.

 
Aug 05, 2014

This was VERY good. My husband just loved it and I served it with gnocci. A couple of things I did differently was; I used white wine instead of vinegar and I didn't use tomato paste as it gives me serious heart-burn. So I just simmered slowly with the lid off and let the sauce thicken on its own. SO good I'm going to make it again tonight and serve with linguini and chorizo. Oh...by the way, we have Roma tomatoes galore in our freezer - so easy to run them under hot water and pop them right out of their skins (while they are frozen) and so I used them instead of the canned ones.

 
Jul 15, 2014

Duuuuuuuuude!!!! That's all I can say...well not really but it sums it all up. This is so simple but so good. I went to the "big city" today and actually found some San Marzano tomatoes and I snagged them up and knew exactly what I was going to make with them. It was just a matter of what pasta dish was going to grace the presence of this sauce. I chose Chef John's Penne with Vodka Sauce found on this site. Amazing! Both of them. I didn't change a thing. I mushed the tomatoes up in my hands like I knew what I was doing and even though my taste test of the sauce at 30 minutes was to die for, I gladly cooked it another hour because well thats what we honorary Italian's do. I felt authentic, it tasted authentic and I'm happy happy.

 
Jun 19, 2014

Absolutely wonderful. Didn't change a thing.

 

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Nutrition

  • Calories
  • 116 kcal
  • 6%
  • Carbohydrates
  • 13 g
  • 4%
  • Cholesterol
  • < 1 mg
  • < 1%
  • Fat
  • 7.1 g
  • 11%
  • Fiber
  • 2.8 g
  • 11%
  • Protein
  • 2.2 g
  • 4%
  • Sodium
  • 722 mg
  • 29%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

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