Garlic gives this southern Italian–style quick-cooking sauce its characteristic flavor. Neapolitans lightly crush the cloves with the side of a large knife. This makes it easy to remove the skin and opens the cloves to release their flavor. Remove whole garlic cloves before serving.
I add the basil at the end of the cooking time for the freshest flavor. Dried basil is a poor substitute for fresh, but you can substitute fresh parsley or mint. This sauce is ideal for spaghetti or other dried pastas.
Total Timeunder 30 minutes
Make Ahead RecipeYes
One Pot MealYes
Five Ingredients or LessYes
Taste and Texturegarlicky, herby, savory
Type of Dishpasta sauce
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 2 large garlic cloves, crushed
- Pinch of crushed red pepper
- 3 pounds fresh plum tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped, or 1 (28-ounce) can imported Italian peeled tomatoes with their juice, passed through a food mill
- Salt to taste
- 4 fresh basil leaves, torn into bits
Pour the oil into a medium saucepan. Add the garlic and red pepper. Cook over medium heat, turning the garlic once or twice until it is golden, about 5 minutes. Remove the garlic from the pan.
Add the tomatoes and salt to taste. Cook 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the sauce is thickened.
Turn off the heat and stir in the basil. Serve hot. Can be made ahead and stored in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator up to 5 days or in the freezer up to 2 months.
2004 Michele Scicolone