03 February 2012

Sicilian Tomato Sauce ... A Basic

Horrors! There were no fresh mussels at the market today, so I am faced with delaying my end of the week 50 Woman Game-Changers post ... there were some nice vine-ripened tomatoes, though. So ... I am making a couple tomato-based dishes in the next few days. A young friend has asked for a good Italian 'gravy' recipe. I guess I might just as well use this time to post for him, Jeff Smith's Fresh Tomato Sauce - Sicilian Style!

Everyone has their preferences for tomato sauces, but I love this sauce. It cooks really slowly on my gas stove (over a diffuser pad). It smells the the house up with that distinctive smell of tomatoes, wine, and herbs. The sauce can be used in traditional pasta sauce or as a base for other recipes that require a thick and rich tomato sauce. To boot, the recipe makes five quarts of sauce that I can put up in pint-sized Ball jars and shelve for later use (after I put them in a hot water bath to properly seal and sterilize things!).  I'm not doing that today. I'm halving the recipe and using the sauce in a Bolognese Sauce tomorrow, and adding some to a ratatouille that I'm making for a Sunday Super Bowl party. The rest will top a pizza that is coming down the pike in a few days ... there will  be no problem using up this 'gravy'.

I was on an Asian kick a couple weeks ago ... I've moved on.

Jeff Smith’s Fresh Tomato Sauce Sicilian-Style

Makes 5 quarts


¼ c. olive oil
4 large cloves garlic, minced
1 large onion, small dice
9 c. cored, seeded and chopped fresh tomatoes – the riper the better
4- 28 oz. cans of chopped tomatoes in their juices
¼ c. fresh parsley, chopped
½ c. dry white wine
1 c. chicken stock
1 tsp. dried marjoram
6 tbsp. butter
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Making the Sauce:
1. Heat a very large deep stockpot over a heat diffuser.

2. Add the oil, onions, and garlic and cook until the onions are very soft and almost transparent.

3. Add the chopped fresh tomatoes and cook them down just a bit, stirring to get everything good and hot.

4. Add the white wine and chicken stock and stir to incorporate.

5. Throw the herbs over top and cover to let them start to release their scent and oils.

6. When you get a noseful of herbs on taking the lid off the pot, add the canned tomatoes, lower the heat, stir everything together and cover up to bring to a simmer.

7. When the pot begins to have that slow simmer bubble, remove the cover and let the simmer go on for 3 to 4 hours, stirring now and then.

8. When the sauce has reduced and the tomatoes has collapsed into sauce, add the butter and salt and pepper. Taste too get thing right.

9. At this point, you can put the sauce up in sterilized jars and run the jars through a hot water bath or you can place the sauce in plastic containers and freeze it – or you can refrigerate it and use it in various recipes.


  1. Hi, butter and white wine in this sauce...sounds yummy!!
    Have a nice week end

  2. Everyone could use a great gravy recipe. Looks like you picked a great one.

  3. Yum! I wish I had eaten that for dinner!

  4. Susan, this sounds amazing! I'm all over the butter and wine too. The best part about using wine in cooking is being able to drink up the rest. :D

  5. Great easy recipe; I try to always have some tomato sauce sitting in the freezer waiting for me.

  6. What an interesting tomato sauce. I can almost smell the garlic cooking. The butter, chicken stock and butter are ingredients that I have never tried in my everyday sauce. I bet it smelled amazing simmering on the stove.

  7. just made a very similar sauce myself with some adde chili for a bit of heat... so lovely to have another great recipe xx

  8. This is a lovely recipe and I'm sure one that tastes so much fresher and yummier than the canned ones. Thanks for sharing!

  9. Am going to file this recipe for when my garden fresh tomatoes are ready later in the summer, I know it is still winter but with each passing day summer gets closer.

  10. ooog that's gorgeous! cant wait for summer. it just started snowing in london today, grrrrr ):


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