Our favourite tomato sauce

Our favourite tomato sauce

The Amalfi Coast
Helen Cathcart

This is our best tomato sauce recipe ever (in 17 years of writing Italian recipes!), using a combination of preserved and fresh tomatoes. Many Italians bottle their home-grown tomatoes in summer to eat throughout the cold months. Unless, like them, you have an abundance of tomatoes and the flavour has been ripened by the sun, this is the next best thing. The richness of flavour is much enhanced by adding half the oil at the beginning and half at the end, but you can cut down on the olive oil if you are watching your waistline. This sauce is perfect with both long or short pasta and is also good to use in the baked pasta dishes later in the chapter.


Quantity Ingredient
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 red or white onion, finely chopped
1 large garlic clove, lightly crushed
2 x 400g canned whole italian plum tomatoes
1 large sprig basil
1-2 teaspoons caster sugar
1 level teaspoon salt
good pinch freshly ground black pepper
12 ripe and flavourful cherry tomatoes, diced
550g long or short pasta, to serve


  1. Heat half the oil in a frying pan and fry the onion and garlic slowly over a medium to low heat for 7–10 minutes, until soft. Add the canned tomatoes, then wash out the can with a few tablespoons of water and add this to the sauce. Add the basil, sugar, salt and black pepper, and continue to cook over a medium heat for about 15 minutes. Use a potato masher or fork to break up the tomatoes. Next add the cherry tomatoes. Cook the sauce for a further 15 minutes, then taste and adjust the salt and sugar if necessary. Stir in the remaining olive oil and your sauce is ready to mix in with your chosen pasta.
The AmalfiCoast
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