No ducks were harmed in the production of this recipe.
- 5 lbs. ripe tomatoes, cored
- 1⁄4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1⁄4 tsp. red pepper flakes
- 1⁄4 tsp. dried oregano
- 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:
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.
Be sure to leave at least 1⁄2 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.