Sicilian Tomato Sauce

8:40 pm on 7 January 2013

Nothing beats a good homemade Sicilian tomato sauce and the smell in the kitchen as it’s cooking is just fantastic. I prefer to use whole, fresh, low-acid plum (Roma)  tomatoes.

You can use this as a base on pizza, with meatballs, as a dipping sauce and in your general cooking.

If you are using fresh tomatoes prepare them by blanching in boiling water until the skins are loose and wrinkled. I usually boil the jug and pour the boiled water over the tomatoes in a container large enough to allow them to be covered by the water.

While they are in the water take a sharp knife and score each tomato if the skins do not split. Cool in cold water to stop further cooking. Remove skins and core before dicing.

Recipe from The New Zealand Gluten-Free Cookbook by Jimmy Boswell 2012, published by Penguin New Zealand. Photography by Sean Shadbolt.

Sicilian Tomate SauceIngredients

  • 1 kg (2.2lbs) fresh tomatoes
  • 1 medium–large onion, diced
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 3–5 cloves garlic, crushed with the flat of a knife and sliced thinly
  • 1 cup chopped fresh basil
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh rosemary
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh oregano
  • ½ cup red wine
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 1 cup chicken or vegetable stock
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 200 g (4 oz) tomato puree
  • ½ cup fresh Italian parsley


Sauté onion in olive oil and simmer over low heat, covered, for 10 minutes. Add the garlic, basil, rosemary and oregano and simmer, covered, for another 5 minutes or so. Uncover and add wine and bay leaves.

Continue simmering until the mixture has reduced by about half. This should take about 30–45 minutes.

Add tomatoes, chicken/vegetable stock, salt and pepper, purée and simmer for 1 hour. You can reduce the sauce further and intensify the flavour by simmering over a low heat for another 2 hours. I have let the sauce simmer for up to 4 hours when I want to develop the taste. Fresh Italian parsley can be added at the end.

Tip: If you want to turn this sauce into a base that is great for pizzas, add 10–12 sliced olives (don’t forget to remove the pips) and 2 tsp capers in the last 15–30 minutes of simmering.

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