What is Sunday Sauce?
Sunday sauce is a longstanding tradition in Italian homes. It’s the day we make a fresh batch of marinara sauce.
Every family has its own authentic version of this sauce handed down from generation to generation. I’m sharing my version in this blog post.
Since it’s harvest season, I am using fresh tomatoes for this recipe, see Options listed below for canned tomatoes.
- fresh tomatoes (about 30 – 40)
- 1 head of roasted garlic
- 1 carrot, peeled (leave whole) – this helps cut the acidity
- 1 small can of tomato paste (you could also use passata if you prefer)
- extra virgin olive oil – use a good quality as it will enhance the tomato flavouring
- sea salt
- 1 cup fresh basil, washed, chopped
Preparing the Tomatoes
Bring a large pot to boil, and while that’s boiling prepare a large bowl (or pot) with ice and cold water.
Wash tomatoes under running water, then core the stems off the tomatoes and score each tomato at the bottom of each tomato with a shallow X.
Working in batches, depending on how big your pot is, drop tomatoes into the boiling water.
Cook until the skin starts to wrinkle and split (usually takes 1 to 2 minutes).
With a slotted spoon, remove each tomato, and place it immediately into the cold bath. This will make them easy to peel.
Peel each tomato set it aside, and continue boiling the rest of your tomatoes.
Once done, you can use either a Vitamix (my preference), blender, food processor, food mill, or coarsely chop the tomatoes and use a masher or your hands. It will depend on your preference to what type of consistency you like—I personally, prefer smooth.
Making the sauce:
Coat a heavy bottom pot with olive oil and heat on medium.
Once the oil is heated add the tomato paste, and stir constantly for about 3 – 5 minutes.
Turn the heat up to high, add the crushed tomatoes, and roasted garlic, and keep stirring. Stir rapidly so the bottom doesn’t stick, for about 5 minutes minute.
Then turn the heat down to LOW.
Add the peeled carrot and salt.
Simmer, semi-covered for one hour, stirring often to ensure it isn’t sticking at the bottom.
Remove the lid and simmer for 3 to 3.5 hours. The secret to a good tomato sauce is letting it cook slowly on low heat. You can adjust cooking time if you want a thicker sauce, but generally speaking, 3 to 3.5 hours renders a good sauce.
Taste and adjust your salt, and you can even add a bit more olive oil. Tasting it during the cooking process will help you adjust the flavour so you get the best out of your tomatoes, and it helps with adjusting the salt ratio.
After an hour of cooking, make sure to taste, and season with salt–if needed.
Remove the carrot halfway through cooking. I enjoy eating the cooked carrot, it’s quite tasty so you don’t need to throw it out.
Once you are satisfied with the consistency of your sauce, drizzle olive oil (about 2 to 4 TBSP – to taste) stir, and remove from heat
Let the sauce sit out until it reaches room temperature.
Once it’s at room temperature, add the fresh chopped basil, and stir.
This sauce pairs extremely well with laughter, family and friends, pasta, meatballs, chicken dishes, and bread, the possibilities are endless for dishes that welcome the delicious sweetness of tomatoes, the nutty flavour of roasted garlic, aromatic olive oil, and delicate sweet-savory basil.
- You can use canned tomatoes (I recommend San Marzano Tomatoes – 3 x 28 oz cans).
- Instead of boiling, you can roast them before peeling. Drizzle with olive oil, salt & roast.
- For an added creamy tang, add a rind of parmesan cheese during the cooking process.
- If you want a spicier sauce, add red pepper chili flakes to taste.
- You can also add about ¼ to ½ cup of dry wine—the kind you drink NOT cooking wine
This sauce freezes well.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to leave a comment with your query.