Basic tomato sauce

Posted: February 1, 2010 by nietize in Sauces

From Jamie’s Dinners: The Essential Family Cookbook


1 large clove garlic, chopped finely
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small dried red chilli
2 teaspoons dried oregano
3 x 400g tins of Italian plum tomatoes
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 handful of basil or marjoram (or both), roughly chopped
salt and freshly ground black pepper
2-3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil


In a thick-bottomed pan, gently fry the garlic with the olive oil, and then add the chilli, oregano and tomatoes. Mix gently, but do not break up the tomatoes as this will release the pips, which will make the sauce slightly bitter. By leaving the tomatoes whole and letting the mixture cook slowly you’ll get a nice sweet sauce.
Bring to the boil and simmer gently for an hour. Add the vinegar, then stir and chop up the tomatoes in the sauce.

Now add fresh basil or marjoram (or both), season well to taste, and add 2-3 tablespoons of your best extra virgin olive oil.

I have been using this basic tomato sauce by Jamie Oliver for the longest time now, as a sauce for pasta dishes with chargrilled chicken breasts or cod fish or as a sauce for cheese bakes. My dad loves ravioli and usually when I return from London, I bring back with me packs of stuffed ravioli. This time, it’s cheese tomato and basil ravioli and spinach and ricotta cheese ravioli. For lunch today, I made this basic tomato sauce to go with the cheese, tomato and basil ravioli.

After years of experimenting with this tomato sauce, I have settled on the following modifications: adding chopped onions and celery to the garlic initially; adding sundried tomatoes to the tomato mixture and adding capers as a final touch to the sauce. Basically, this recipe lends itself to a whole load of variations so experiment!


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