Basic Tomato Sauce, Smooth to Chunky

Basic Tomato Sauce, Smooth to Chunky

Simmer the tomatoes whole and adjust the texture of the sauce during the final blending.

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, diced fine
1 medium carrot, diced fine
1 tsp. dried basil
1/2 bay leaf
1 can (35 ozs.) Italian plum tomatoes, preferably from San Marzano, with liquid
0 kosher salt
0 freshly ground black pepper

1 Heat the oil in a heavy 3 quart saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the onion, carrrot, basil and bay leaf. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Saute the vegetables, stirring frequently, until softened, about 10 minutes.

2 Stir in the tomatoes and liquid. Reduce the heat to simmering. Cover the pan and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes.

3 Stir in the salt and pepper to taste. Simmer 5 minutes. Working in batches, process the sauce in a food processor or blender to the desired consistency-about 10 seconds at low speed for a smooth sauce, about 5 seconds at low speed for a medium-coarse sauce, or 3 or 4 quick on/off pulses for a chunky sauce.

4 To serve, warm the appropriate amount of sauce in a large skillet over low heat while the pasta is cooking. Adjust the seasoning. Just before draining the pasta, ladle 2 tablespoons pasta cooking liquid per serving into the skillet. Drain the pasta thoroughly, add to the skillet and toss to coat. Divide among warmed serving plates, passing the grated Parmesan or Romano cheese separately. Makes about 4 cups

NOTE: The sauce will keep refrigerated up to a week and in the freezer up to 3 months. Cool the sauce to room temperature before refrigerating or freezing.