Fresh Tomato and Basil Sauce

This image courtesy of Joseph DeLeo

When my grandmothers and mother made tomato sauce, sometimes a battuto of minced celery, carrot, and onion was used to flavor the sauce; or red wine was used to enrich it. Sometimes just fresh, ripe tomatoes simply flavored with basil and oil were the only ingredients. This sauce is versatile and can be used on everything from pizza and pasta to eggplant and calzoni.


Total Timeunder 2 hours

Make Ahead RecipeYes

Kid FriendlyYes

Dietary Considerationegg-free, gluten-free, halal, kosher, lactose-free, peanut free, soy free, tree nut free, vegan, vegetarian

Type of Dishpasta sauce, sauces


  • 5 pounds ripe plum tomatoes, or 3 28-ounce cans crushed plum tomatoes
  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup diced onion
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • ½ cups dry red wine
  • Coarse salt and black pepper to taste
  • 4 or 5 sprigs fresh basil


  1. If using fresh tomatoes, core them, cut them into coarse chunks, and puree in a food processor until smooth. Strain the fresh or canned tomatoes through a fine sieve to remove the seeds. Set aside.

  2. In a deep heavy pot, heat the olive oil. Add the onion and saute until soft. Add the garlic and saute until soft. Add the fresh or canned tomatoes and stir to blend. Add the wine, salt and pepper, and basil and stir well. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer for 25 minutes. The sauce is ready to use, or it can be refrigerated for up to 1 week or frozen for up to 3 months.


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