Quick Fresh Tomato Sauce

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I spent a glorious morning at our local farmers’ market last weekend, buying everything in sight, carrots, potatoes, garlic, corn, squash, beets. Everything looked gorgeous, freshly-picked and full of life. I especially couldn’t resist the tomatoes, plump, juicy, and vibrant red, cherry tomatoes in various shades and sizes, gnarly striped heirloom tomatoes, ordinary slicing tomatoes, and baskets of plum tomatoes for making sauce. Which is what we are doing today.

It will be a wonderful thing, three to four months from now, to dig into your freezer and pull out a container of home-made tomato sauce. Think of it a building block to great food, and imagine how good it will taste with meatballs, or in a spaghetti sauce, or a soup. You will thank yourself for the effort you make now, and with this recipe, from Sam Sifton at Cooking with the New York Times, it is not much effort at all.


To make this sauce, five pounds of tomatoes are cut in half horizontally, the seeds are removed (as best you can), and the cut side of the tomato is pressed through the large holes of a box grater. This is a slightly messy job, but once it’s finished the rest is quick and easy. The recipe estimates you will have about 4 cups of grated tomato pulp; I had six cups, so added a bit more of the rest of the ingredients to keep the flavours balanced.


And that’s about it. A short simmer on the stove and voilà, fresh, bright tomato sauce. It will keep for about five days in the refrigerator, and for months in the freezer, properly stored in plastic freezer bags or air-tight containers. This is where having a stand-alone freezer comes in handy.

There are countless recipes in the world for tomato sauce but I’m liking this one right now because it contains just a whiff of garlic, a splash of olive oil, and a bright green sprig of basil for the artist in all of us.



5.0 from 2 reviews
Quick Fresh Tomato Sauce
Summer may be winding down but the harvest is just getting going, making this the perfect time to make tomato sauce. This recipe from Cooking with the New York Times is my current favourite; instead of dunking the tomatoes in boiling water to remove the skins, the flesh is grated through a box grater, leaving the skins behind. And once that little job is done, the rest is quick and easy.
  • 5 pounds tomatoes
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 garlic clove, halved
  • 1 basil sprig
  • 1 bay leaf
  1. Cut tomatoes in half horizontally. Squeeze out the seeds and discard, if you wish. Press the cut side of the tomatoes against the large holes of a box grater and grate tomato flesh into a bowl. Discard skins. You should have about 4 cups.
  2. Put tomato pulp in a low wide saucepan over high heat. Add salt, olive oil, tomato paste, garlic, basil and bay leaf. Bring to a boil, then lower heat to a brisk simmer.
  3. Reduce the sauce by almost half, stirring occasionally, to produce about 2½ cups medium-thick sauce, 10 to 15 minutes. Taste and adjust salt. It will keep up to 5 days in the refrigerator or may be frozen.
Makes about 2½ cups


3 thoughts on “Quick Fresh Tomato Sauce

  1. Sandy Stone


    Your simple tomato sauce recipe sounds delicious. I have a basket of tomatoes that are sitting on the kitchen counter waiting to be made into sauce. I’m going to freeze the tomato sauce in measured ziplock freezer bags for future use.

  2. Amanda Shaughnessy

    Lately, it seems that I just have to think about making something and one of your recipes pops into my inbox. I had just put 8 containers of your pesto into the freezer and was thinking about making some fresh tomato sauce to freeze for the winter when this recipe arrived! I had been dithering over a more complicated recipe so was relieved to find this simple, elegant tomato sauce recipe. Thank you. The pictures are mouth-watering!


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