20-Minute Tomato Sauce


Another go-to adapted from Cook's Illustrated. I usually triple the recipe and freeze what I don't need. Make sure to use best quality tomatoes! (I like San Marzano.)


  • 1 28-oz cans best quality whole tomatoes (not packed in puree or sauce)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh basil (about 8 leaves)
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • ½ teaspoons salt, plus more for pasta
  • pinch of crushed red pepper (optional)
  • 1 lb spaghetti


  1. Put garlic through a garlic press into a small bowl and stir in 1 teaspoon water. Heat oil and garlic in large saute pan over medium heat until fragrant but not brown, about 2 minutes.
  2. If using whole tomatoes, drain and reserve liquid. Coarsley chop by hand or in a food processor. If necessary, add enough liquid to tomatoes to equal 2 cups. Add to pan and simmer until thickened slightly, about 10 minutes.  Stir in basil, sugar, and ½ teaspoon salt.
  3. Meanwhile, cook pasta until al dente in large pot of boiling, salted water. Reserve ¾ cup cooking water; drain pasta, and transfer it back to pan. Mix in reserved cooking water and sauce; cook together over medium heat for 1 minute, stirring constantly, and serve immediately.
Susan JohnsonComment