I cannot believe it! I have blogged for over 2 years and I haven’t posted this recipe yet! Spaghetti with home-made tomato sauce form the BASE of Italian cuisine. So much so that Italians refer to this dish as pasta “al sugo”, which means “with sauce”, taking for granted that the sauce is tomato sauce. In summer, when we are lucky enough to find fresh tomatoes at the market, we eat this pasta regularly. In fact, many people still make enough tomato sauce to last through the winter. I have never been one of those (nor has my family) as it takes too long. In winter, I simply eat something else or I use store bought passata/tomato purée. I know, it’s not the same and you can easily understand it by tasting the fresh home made version. I made a batch of this sugo when my parents were here as we found some amazing tomatoes at the markets which were perfect to make sauce. In fact, the right tomatoes are fundamental in making a good sauce. They have to be small and ripe… the big ones (or even the Roma ones) are no good as they are too watery and not as sweet. Making sugo at home is very easy, but it requires that it be cooked twice: the first time to cook the tomatoes and the second time to thicken the sauce. You can use it to make any dish that requires tomato sauce/purée, but I encourage you to eat it plain. Cook some spaghetti and top them with this sauce… they’ll be to die for! And if you want to step it up a little, serve it with fried eggplant slices and some Parmigiano Reggiano or Ricotta Salata… that’s what we eat (almost) everyday when holidaying in Sicily! Simple and amazingly tasty! Enjoy!
Spaghetti with Home-made Tomato Sauce
Back to the basics of Italian cooking: Spaghetti with fresh tomato sauce.
- 1 kg – 2.2 lbs. tomatoes for tomato sauce I used some Sweet Solanato
- 1 onion brown or red, roughly chopped
- ¾ tsp salt
- 10 basil leaves
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- Salt to taste if needed
- 350 gms – 12 oz. Spaghetti
- Vegetable oil
- Finely grated Parmigiano Reggiano or Ricotta Salata to serve
Cut a slit on the tomatoes (vertically) and put them in a pot with the chopped onion and salt.
Squash them a little with a wooden spoon to get the juices out.
Cook, uncovered, on a medium-low fire for 20 to 30 minutes.
Discard the liquids accumulated.
Scoop the cooked tomatoes and onions in a vegetable mill and squeeze the juice out into a pot. Make sure to squeeze well, as the thickest (and sweeter) part is the last to come out of the skins!
Put the squeezed tomato sauce on the fire and cook it again, uncovered, on a medium-low fire until it thickens.
Add the basil leaves 5 minutes before you put the fire off.
When ready, adjust the salt and put the fire off.
Fried Eggplant (optional)
Slice the eggplant into 1 cm (1/2 inch) thick slices and soak them in salty water for 30 minutes.
Pat them dry and fry the eggplant slices in vegetable oil.
Put them in a colander to drain the excess oil.
Cook the spaghetti following the steps on How to cook pasta “al dente” in the Techniques page of this site. Drain it and serve with the fresh tomato sauce on the top.
If you like, you can serve it with some fried eggplant and a generous sprinkle of finely grated Parmigiano Reggiano (or Ricotta Salata) on the top… the Sicilian way!
If your sauce is way too tart, you can add ½ to 1 tsp of sugar to make it sweeter and reduce the “acidity”. I don’t usually do this, but It is very common in Italy.
The sauce will be enough for more servings! Just keep it in the fridge or freeze it.