January 2018 | The Honest Spoon

I'm not sure if many people know this ... but Italians make sauce on Sundays. It's a thing. Surely, we may sometimes fall a little off track and make it on a Saturday, maybe even one day during the week....but that would be an odd exception to this silent rule. Growing up, I vividly remember looking forward to the smell of sauce simmering on the stove  on Sundays.f It would cook for hours. It was the BEST smell in the world. Sometimes, my Mom would make plain sauce (like this one). Sometimes she would throw in some stew meat and peeled chopped potatoes (my personal favorite). Sometimes it was meat sauce. Regardless, the base is the same. Just a few simple ingredients that simmer into a magical, simple, and classic taste. And always on Sunday.

Now, I am going to go ahead and repeat- this is a simple CLASSIC sauce. That's what it's supposed to be. There is no garlic powder, onion powder, extra spices, dried herbs, and definitely NO oregano. Ummm,,,,no again on the oregano. We aren't making pizza here people.. That comment right there may just get some other Italians worked up. We get worked up easily over food. It's all good. Allow me to explain, seeing as I am conditioned for this. We, as Italians, are pretty territorial over our food. Growing up, we'd get together for Sunday Family Dinner. My aunts would be cooking and the usual conversations would include things like "you don't put onions in sauce", "I only use garlic", "too much onion", "not enough onion", or "you need to add sugar", As we all know, in an Italian house, you have to track all five conversations going at any given time, AND whoever is loudest is most obviously right. We are very loud and opinionated over our food.

The moral of the story? Everyone makes their sauce a little different. This is how I make it. Crushed plum tomatoes. No sugar. A little onion, finely chopped, and fresh  sliced garlic, and a bit of fresh whole basil leaves (whole basil makes it easier to take out later). A little salt, a little pepper, and a little patience and that's it. That's ALL you need!


| Make sauce for 8 |


  • 2 12 oz cans of crushed or whole plum tomatoes (I use Trader Joe's. They're good, they're inexpensive)
  • 1 small onion, diced (about 1/2 cup)
  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • about 4-6 fresh basil leaves
  • water




1. Puree one can of tomatoes in your food processor, or blender, in two batches,

2. Heat olive oil in deep pot on medium heat. Add onions and saute until they start to become clear. Do not brown.

3. Add first can of pureed tomatoes. Fill can about 1/4 with water, add to pot.

4. Puree second can, add to pot. Fill can about 1/4 with water, add to pot.

5. Add sliced garlic, salt, pepper, and fresh basil. Stir and reduce to a simmer. Cook for about 2 hours. 

6. Serve with fresh pasta or cooked pasta like Barilla's Penne or Rigatoni.


1. Leftover sauce freezes well. Store any left overs in airtight containers for up to 3 months. I use these containers

2. You can make this in a pressure cooker! Follow the steps above, omit water, and add 1 tablespoon of tomatoes paste. Stir well. Cook on manual for 45 minutes.


pasta with sauce close up.JPG