Basic Sauce

About this recipe

Direct from Aunt Ivana. This is a simple tomato sauce that can be used in dishes like Veal Parmesan and Cannelloni, or served over spaghetti as a nice change.


Place a saucepot on the stove; turn heat to just under medium and fry:

  • 2 tbsp. olive oil,
  • ¼ cup cooking onion (diced), 
  • 1 clove garlic (minced),
  • ½ cup carrot (diced), 
  • ½ cup celery or zucchini (diced),
  • ½ tbsp. basil, ½ tsp. salt, and ¼ tsp. chili or black pepper.

Let everybody get to know each other for 3-4 minutes, and then add:

  • ½ cup white wine.

When the veggies look happy (after 6-7 minutes), add:

  • 1 (28 oz.) can plum tomatoes (pour the entire contents into the pot),
  • 2 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley.

Turn up heat to bring to a boil. When boiling, turn heat down and simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes. Then pass contents through a food mill (using medium blade) or let cool and then blend. Serve with pasta or use in another recipe.


  • To make a chunky garden sauce: blend your tomatoes before adding.
  • Go easy on the garlic and onion since blending intensifies their flavour.
  • If using fresh basil, add with the tomatoes and discard before blending.
  • If blending, first let the sauce cool. Never put anything hot through a blender—it will explode!
  • If making for another recipe, skip the garlic, use black pepper (not chili), and leave out the basil.
    Instead of carrot, celery, and zucchini, use ½ red bell pepper (diced). Then add ½-1 cup table cream or half-and-half before blending. For a real treat, fry sausage pieces, mix them into the red pepper cream sauce, and put over fusilli. Then find yourself a king and serve it to him.

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