Fresh Tomato Sauce

No ducks were harmed in the pro­duc­tion of this recipe.


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  • Ingre­di­ents:
  • 5 lbs. ripe toma­toes, cored
  • 14 cup extra-vir­gin olive oil
  • 2 gar­lic cloves, minced
  • 14 tsp. red pep­per flakes
  • 14 tsp. dried oregano
  • Salt
  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves, shredded

Cut toma­toes in half along equa­tor. Set fine-mesh strain­er over medi­um bowl. Gen­tly squeeze toma­to halves, cut sides down, over strain­er to col­lect seeds and jel­ly, scrap­ing any seeds that cling to toma­toes into strain­er. Using rub­ber spat­u­la, press on seeds to extract as much liq­uid as pos­si­ble. Dis­card seeds. Set aside 1 cup liq­uid and trans­fer any remain­ing liq­uid to large bowl.

Cut toma­toes into rough 1 1⁄2‑inch pieces. Work­ing in 2 or 3 batch­es, process toma­toes in blender until smooth, 30 to 45 sec­onds; trans­fer purée to large bowl with strained liq­uid (you should have about 10 cups purée).

Heat 2 tbsp. oil in Dutch oven over medi­um heat until shim­mer­ing. Add gar­lic and pepper.

Remove pot from heat and stir in basil, reserved toma­to liq­uid, and remain­ing 2 tbsp. oil. Sea­son with salt to taste. Use imme­di­ate­ly or let cool com­plete­ly before refrig­er­at­ing or freez­ing. (Sauce can be refrig­er­at­ed for up to 1 week or frozen for up to 3 months.)

If you have a bumper crop of toma­toes, the recipe for our Fresh Toma­to Sauce can be eas­i­ly dou­bled. But we don’t rec­om­mend can­ning this sauce; doing so requires adding acid to make the sauce food-safe, which will dis­tort its del­i­cate, sweet fla­vor. Sim­ply por­tion it into air­tight con­tain­ers or jars and freeze it for up to three months. Here are two tips that make the process easy:

Tip 1:

To quick­ly cool the sauce, trans­fer it to a stain­less-steel bowl, set the bowl over a larg­er bowl filled with ice, and stir the sauce until cool.

Tip 2:

Be sure to leave at least 12 inch of headspace—that is, some space between the top of the food and the rim of the container—to account for the liq­uid’s expan­sion as it freezes.