The Best Fresh Tomato Sauce

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The Best Fresh Tomato Sauce

I traveled to Florence Italy to work with Chef Stefano and learn how to make THE best fresh tomato sauce! Sharing is love. Let’s make it!

Pasta Fresh Tomato Sauce

I had the amazing pleasure of doing a day of cooking with Chefs Stefano and Chef Matteo of The Cooking Touch in Florence Italy. Yes, it’s an authentic Tuscan cooking experience! 

The location of the cooking ‘school’ which is actually a beautiful apartment gives you an unforgettable experience in an unforgettable location. 

The Best Fresh Tomato Sauce

The space is both elegant and refined, but definitely devoted to cooking. Fine taste is found throughout, sophisticated and custom-made furniture, then there are the massive windows that not only bring the outside in, but you feel like you can almost touch the Ponte Vecchio. Ancient Florence is right there as you’re chopping, slicing, dicing, sipping wine, laughing and learning how simple food can be and easy to prepare without any fussiness. 

The Best Fresh Tomato Sauce

Italian Tomato Sauce

I’m totally intrigued with their philosophy. It’s so simple and full of love:

“Our philosophy is to enhance the quality of the seasonal ingredients, take care of our guests with a deep passion and consciousness that exemplifies “Cooking for someone is to granting them happiness”.”

The Best Fresh Tomato Sauce

Authentic Italian Sauces

Our day started in the morning. Chef Stefano met Ben and me at the Four Seasons Hotel where we were staying. Absolutely full of personality, handsome, young and quite enchanting, we all meandered along the Medieval cobble stone streets to do our shopping. 

First we stopped at the butcher’s shop. Chef Stefano asked what I’d like to cook, and definitely without hesitation, I said that I do want to do something with liver, chicken livers! I love them. Oh, goodness, he was as excited as I was. Admitting he doesn’t get many requests for this organ meat, he said he would teach me to make a delicious liver pate sauce. Imagine how excited I am now! 

The Best Fresh Tomato Sauce

How to Make Tomato Sauce

There are actually three chefs, like the three muskateers, who operate this enterprise. All young and talented chefs, they grew up together and now continue to share their passion of cooking together. So, there’s Stefano, Matteo and Max. They’re somewhat of a motely crew, and you can see the sparkle of mischief in their eyes from the pictures at their website. 

Actually that’s what I explored when I was looking for the perfect cooking experience that would match my personality. Yes, I combed through several options, and when I looked at their website, read their philosophy and meandered through their pages, there was not a shred of doubt in my mind. THIS was where I wanted to learn to make pasta and the best easiest tomato sauce as well as other things! 

The Best Fresh Tomato Sauce

Tomato Sauce with Fresh Tomatoes

And, I was selfish. I wanted all of their attention. I wanted to absorb every second of what we were doing. So, Ben and I booked a private class. He watched. I cooked! 

And, goodness gracious did we have a blast. 

After the butcher’s shop where we got our pasture-raised chicken livers, and Stefano said, ‘Those chickens have never seen a pen in their life!’, we also got THE most luscious fresh bread. A huge loaf. Yes, this would be for crostini, bruschetta, our liver pate sauce. 

The Best Fresh Tomato Sauce

Tomatoes for Pasta Sauce

We then proceeded down more narrow cobblestone streets. Shopkeeper just waking  to the day’s work. Busy and bustling, it was invigorating. Stefano spoke excellent English, and as we walked we chattered like school girls. At one point, we felt rain drops! Something glorious because there hadn’t been rain in Florence for almost four months. Then more then rain drops, there was actual rain! It was like God approved of our day and was rewarding us!

We dashed into a small coffee shop. Ordered cappuccinos and continued to talk about life, living, his world, my world and more. Rather than follow along, Ben had decided to hang out at the cooking location and just soak in the beauty of the scenery and sip on his bubbly water and espresso. 

The Best Fresh Tomato Sauce

Easy Fresh Tomato Sauce

When the rain, which wasn’t a downpour but a nice soaking, stopped, we walked to the small postage stamp sized market on a narrow side street. Vegetables and fruits abounded in rainbow colors on each side of the small door into the store.

Stefano explained that the owners, who’d been there for years and years, owned a farm and most all of what we were seeing was literally raised by them. Yes, truly fresh and on the vines the night before, he chose every ingredient as I watched him negotiate with the shop owners for the best peaches, the most luscious tomatoes, the freshest herbs. 

The Best Fresh Tomato Sauce

Fresh Homemade Tomato Sauce

Watching Stefano make this sauce was like a small symphony. He kept a big pot of water near the tomato sauce as he started with the onions and garlic. Getting the onions to translucent takes time, maybe 18 to 20 minutes, and you don’t want at any time for the onions to dry out. So, we would add about a cup plus of water when needed and let the onions continue at a simmering boil (uncovered). 

The Best Fresh Tomato Sauce

Same when we put the fresh chopped tomatoes in and the entire stem of basil. As he said, there’s much flavoring in the stem. Continue to add water to the tomatoes as they’re cooking and breaking down losing the acidity. Also, once those garlic cloves as nice and creamy tender, remove them, cool and then just peel off the outer layer, then toss into the pot the creamy delicious garlic with the tomatoes. 

The Best Fresh Tomato Sauce

Best Italian Tomato Sauce from Fresh Tomatoes

I’m certain that what makes this sauce so delicious is the quality of the ingredients you use. Definitely try to find local tomatoes that actually taste like a tomato. 

You can use heirloom or another type of tomato as long as it’s fresh and a real tomato, not hot house type (they have little flavor!). 

The Best Fresh Tomato Sauce

And, if push comes to shove, use canned San Marzano or Roma tomatoes from Italy. It’s the soil and the sun that make such an amazing difference in taste. That’s important. For some canned options, check my Amazon Storefront! 

The Best Fresh Tomato Sauce

The Best Fresh Tomato Sauce

The Best Fresh Tomato Sauce

Yield: About 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 red onion, medium size, diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, do not peel
  • 10-12 Roma tomatoes, medium to large size, large dice, can substitute 28 oz. can San Marzano or Roma tomatoes
  • 4 Tbl. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 basil stem, large, with leaves + more for serving
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • Serving: Fresh basil leaves and Parmigiano Reggiano

Instructions

  1. Chop the red onion. Put in a large sauce pan with two cloves of garlic “in
    camicia” (that means keep the skin on), a teaspoon of salt and the extra virgin
    olive oil.
  2. Cook at medium temperature until the onion is completely translucent
    in order to loose all the acidity (if is gets dry add some water in order to avoid
    burning the onion). This can take about 20 minutes.
  3. Add the tomatoes, the whole stem of basil and two teaspoons of salt and cook for 20 to 25 minutes. Fish out the garlic pieces and remove the skins. Return garlic to sauce.
  4. Just remember to add some water when the sauce is getting dry. At the end adjust the flavor according to your personal taste with salt and black pepper.
  5. Once the sauce is done, you have several options for the finish. You can leave as is, somewhat chunky. You can puree. Or you can do as I did and use an immersion blender to blend well and have a more smooth consistency.
  6. Serve with some fresh grated Parmigiano Reggiano and fresh basil.

Your sharing is GOLDEN! Thank you!

Your sharing and comments help me stay in business! Share a photo if you make the recipe #allyskitchen Thank you! xo Ally

The Best Fresh Tomato Sauce

 

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30 Comments

  1. So excited to try this, thank you, Ally!!!! Wondering what kind of pasta you use? I just want to do what you do!

    1. Sammi! I’m so excited for you to try. Everyone who’s made it, seems to really love! I’ve used several types of pasta, bucatini, spaghetti, and penne pasta! All fabulous! Lots of extra fresh basil and parmesan reggiano! xo ally

      1. Thank you!! And do you use wheat pasta, gluten free, or some other kind? Also wondering how long it keeps in the fridge? Thank you again!!

        1. Hi, Sammi! Oh, gosh, when I eat pasta, it’s real pasta! Like in Italy! Your sauce will keep about 4 to 5 days refrigerated and a few months frozen! I know you’re gonna love!! xoxx ally

  2. I’ve been making tomato sauces all week long here after my parents gifted me two big boxes of very very ripe heirloom tomatoes from their garden. I loved (virtually) traveling to Italy with you and the story behind this recipe. It really is all about starting with the best ingredients!

    1. Ann Ann Ann!! You’re amazing! OMG, I’d die to have those beautiful heirloom tomatoes. Your parents are awesome! And, the sauce, well, it’s absolutely divine! So many ways to use. Freeze freeze, luv! xox ally

  3. Sheri Miller says:

    This is so delicious it almost has a buttery taste! I’m part Italian but do not have my Grandma’s recipes, so thank you so much for sharing! This will be what I use in her memory! Love following you, Ally. Your no waste cooking reminds me of how my Grandma cooked!

    1. Sheri! What a beautiful tribute to your Grandmother. That’s what food is about, pure love and using this recipe in her memory is quite an honor for me and Chef Stefan! I love having you here most definitely! Yes, I’m into saving their earth I suppose by not wasting food and using every bit of what hard earned money buys! xoxx ally

  4. Hi Ally. I just made this tonight for dinner. I used the Cento Organic San Marzano canned tomatoes so I adjusted the salt back to 1 teaspoon. I wouldn’t have to. I needed a little more at the end. (But you never know with using canned ingredients). It was really really good! I even used bucatini (I heard on a video you used that when you made it for Dessi and Bobby) 😉 I will definitely make this again. Thank you for sharing. This is a keeper for sure! 😋

    1. Nancy! It’s so great that you scaled back on salt then added as needed. You’re right, you never know! And, I haven’t used canned tomatoes yet. I’ve done some research on the best ‘maters (San Marzano) out there, and found some on Amazon. Scheduled to be delivered in a few days. Can’t wait to try b/c in winter when those fresh aren’t available (I’m not really into hot house ones), it will be much more flavorful. Here are the five brands that I put in my Pantry Items on Amazon. Just an FYI for future pots of tomato sauce! And, didn’t you love that bucatini! A little more al dente bite!! xoxx ally https://www.amazon.com/shop/allyskitchen/list/3BX4HMP1SHK4W

  5. Hi Ally, Wow!!!! Your sauce is amazing!!
    I have never made tomato sauce before. After seeing you and Bobby make it this weekend, you inspired me to try and make it. I’m so glad I did. It is the best sauce I’ve ever had. Thank you so much for the recipe and video. 🙌🏼🙌🏼❤️❤️

    1. Jodi! Reading this about first thing in the morning is an AWESOME way to start the day!! Thank you thank you for letting me know! Yes, it’s pretty amazing, so fresh, simple and classic. I sure hope you’ll snoop around and find some other recipes you like! xoxx ally

  6. Gay Shelton says:

    Just made this and it is so delicious!!
    Serving it with garlic lemon chicken breasts. Thanks for sharing. The video was very helpful.
    I would post a pic but not sure how to add it to this comment.
    Love your recipes!!

    1. Gay! Good morning, luv! What a wonderful way to start my day!! THANK YOU! And, I love that you served with garlic lemon chicken breasts! If you’re on FB or IG, you can certainly share a pix and tag me. OR, just email to me at [email protected]! I’d love to see your ahhhhhmazing creation, luv! Don’t be a stranger!! See you soon! xoxx ally

  7. Made the sauce today it is the best recipe!
    Hoping to make another batch this garden season. Thanks for sharing the experience and recipe.

    1. Hi, Pam! Oh, you lucky ducky, fresh garden tomatoes! Bobby and I made this recipe again yesterday, and we devoured the pasta! Thank you soooooooooo much for your support and don’t be a stranger! xoxx ally

  8. Did you cook the pasta in the sauce, or in water first and then add to the sauce?

    1. Hi, Crystal, depending upon how much tomato sauce and pasta I make, it depends. If I make a triple batch of sauce, I’ll spoon it on the immediately drained pasta (that’s in another bowl or pot) and toss. If it’s a small amount of the sauce (per the recipe actually), I’ll just use tongs and add pasta into the sauce pot. Make sense? Any way you do it, it’s gonna be yummy! xoxx ally

  9. Marisa Pellegrini says:

    Hi Ally so happy you went to Italy to discover the beauty and the food. I would love to have the recipe for the chicken liver pate as well.

    Ciao

    Marisa

  10. Would you share the chicken liver pate recipe as well please?! 🙂

    1. Hi, Ella! I’m going to be doing that asap, luv! Sooooooooooo good and I’m so happy you love organ meat!! xoxx ally

  11. Well that was impressive! Dinner with my parents tonight and my mother made this sauce. I’m not a red sauce fan by nature, but this had me deeply impressed. It is better by leagues than my standard red sauce recipe – which usually impresses people. She used canned tomatoes, also.

    This is up there with some of the best sauces I’ve tasted in Italy or NYC. This will be my new standard recipe, and I will share it with others. When I have a good supply of fresh tomatoes, I’ll make a larger pot and can some. I do not can often so that is high praise.

    1. Bryan!!! OMG, I’m blown away, darlin! Thank you soooooooooooo much! Yes, this is by far my most favorite. YOu’re pretty amazing to share this with me. Again, thank you, and as I talk to you I’m sitting next to Bobby of FlavCity and we’ve decided to make a big pot for tonight’s dinner along with grilled tuna and chicken!!! Hope to see you again soon! xoxx ally

  12. Aldina Faria says:

    Thank you so much for the recipe ❤️ Made it today and it’s delish and fresh!!! My teens and I loved it. I used fresh basil from my balcony garden 🪴 and local Roma tomatoes which makes it extra special for me!

    1. Oh, gosh, Aldina! Thank you for letting me know. And, nothing’s better than your own fresh basil! Finding local Roma tomatoes was a big score! I so appreciate hearing from you luv! xoxx ally

  13. Nancy Derose says:

    Hi Alley,
    When the sauce is done do you remove the garlic or remove the skin on the garlic?
    Thank you,
    Nancy

    1. Hi, Nancy, yes, remove garlic skin and put cooked garlic back into tomato sauce then proceed to either puree/strain, immersion blender or leave as is. Hope you enjoy! xoxx ally

      1. Lovely recipe Ally!!! Thanks for sharing it! I know you will always treasure your special time you had in Italy!!!!

        1. Oh, gosh, dear Ronna, yes, it was such an amazing experience in Italy. And, thank you, for taking a look at this beautiful simple delicious recipe! xoxx ally

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