Classic Fresh Tomato Sauce

1 hour 30 minutes - 1 hour 45 minutes
to cook

It was once said that the greatest wines of Montrachet should be drunk kneeling with head bowed as a sign of reverence.  

Well, this is how I feel about this very simple, classic sauce whch, made with red, ripe, flavoursome tomatoes and served with pasta, absorbs the very essence of the tomatoes' concentrated flavour.  It's still the best pasta sauce of all, and it can be made ahead and re-heated (it even freezes well).

The Delia Online Cookery School: Watch how to make perfect pasta to go with Classic Fresh Tomato Sauce, just click the image to play.

Vegetarians may like to know that you can buy a 'Parmesan style' cheese from Bookham and Harrison Farms Ltd.

A picture of Delia's Complete How to Cook

This recipe is from Delia's Complete How to Cook. Serves 2-3 (enough for 350g pasta)

  • method
  • Ingredients


Roughly chop the tomatoes then heat the oil in the casserole, then add the onion and garlic and let them gently cook for 5-6 minutes, until they are softened and pale gold in colour. 

Now add the chopped tomatoes with about a third of the basil, torn into pieces. Add some salt and freshly milled black pepper, then all you do is give everything a good stir and let the tomatoes simmer on a very low heat, without a lid, for approximately 1½ - 1¾ hours or until almost all the liquid has evaporated and the tomatoes are reduced to a thick, jam-like consistency, stirring now and then. 

Next use a hand blender to whizz the sauce, but not too much, and stir in the rest of the torn basil leaves, and serve on pasta, with some freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano. When serving this sauce, it is a good idea to give the pasta 1 minute less cooking time than you usually would, then return it to the casserole after draining and give 1 more minute while you mix in the sauce.

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