If you’re buying jarred tomato sauce because it’s more convenient than making the real stuff, stop. With the right recipe, you don’t need a long list of ingredients or an entire afternoon of free time. This recipe, borrowed from Patsy’s Italian Restaurant in New York City, will have you never hitting up the supermarket sauce aisle again.
Patsy’s opened back in 1944 smack dab in the middle of Manhattan. Over the years it’s garnered the attention of civilians and celebrities alike. The red sauce restaurant was a frequent stop for the likes of Frank Sinatra and JFK (read all about Patsy’s in Patsy’s Italian Family Cookbook, out now). And while Patsy’s has sustained generations, the Scognamillo family still holds court in the kitchen. One big secret to the Scognamillo’s success: their sauce.
Patsy’s recipe utilizes canned San Marzano tomatoes, which you can find just about anywhere. Where most jarred sauces tend to be thick and taste more like garlic than anything else, Patsy’s sauce has a light, refreshing taste and a bittersweet tomato flavor. It’s simple. As it should be.
And don’t limit the stuff to spaghetti. The sauce tastes awesome atop a meatball sub, chicken parm, or baked ziti. And because the recipe makes seven cups of sauce, feel free to share.
Our Tomato Sauce
Recipe adapted from Patsy’s Italian Family Cookbook
What you’ll need:
¼ cup olive oil
1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, halved
2 28-ounce cans whole San Marzano tomatoes in juice
2 Tbsp hearty red wine (merlot or a cabernet works well)
2 bay leaves
2 Tbsp tomato paste
¼ cup chopped fresh basil
1 Tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
How to make it:
1. In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium high. Add the onion and garlic, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes. While the onion and garlic cooks, pour the tomatoes and juice into a large bowl and squish with your hands until they reach a chunky consistency. Add the tomatoes to the saucepan with the wine and bay leaves; bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cover. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the flavors meld, about 35 minutes.
- Discard the bay leaves and continue simmering, covered, until the sauce thickens, another 25 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste, basil, and parsley. Allow the sauce to simmer uncovered until well combined, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, gently spoon through the sauce and pick out the halves of garlic. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.