Simple Tomato Sauce

Adapted from NYTimes Cooking


1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

4 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

2 28-ounce can Italian Tomatoes packed in puree (I use tomatoes with the label DOP)

2 sprigs basil (optional - If you have them, use them, but if you don't, do not substitute dried basil.)

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper


Put the tomatoes in a large bowl and crush them using your fingers.  Do not do this in a blender or food processor as it will make them too fine.  If the tomatoes have been packed with basil leaves, remove and discard them.


Warm the oil in a 4-quart non-reactive sauté pan, and add the garlic slices.  Cook until the slices turn slightly/barely gold; watch carefully, don't let them color too much or burn.  If you do, you have to start over. Add the crushed red pepper flakes, and cook for 30 seconds.


Stir in the contents of the bowl with the crushed tomatoes, add the basil if you are using it and the salt and pepper.


Bring sauce to a simmer, and taste to check the seasoning.  Add a little more salt if necessary.  Cook at a steady simmer, adjusting the heat as necessary, until the tomatoes have thickened into a sauce that is not at all watery, but not jammy either.  This will take about 30 to 40 minutes.


Remove from the heat and discard the basil if you used it.


If you are using this sauce to make Eggplant Parmesan, let it cool to room temperature before proceeding with layering the ingredients.