I make A LOT of tomato sauce – aside from the obvious pasta sauce it goes with a whole host of other things – it’s curiously good, for example, with cabbage and obviously good, for example, with a meatloaf. So I have developed this method over the years until it has finally achieved the high standards of my son, whose favourite food this is.

My beloved, who, having lived for years in Greece with rich, flavoursome tomatoes, taught me to add sugar to anything less than the pinnacle of tomato perfection, in order to bring out more flavour.

A slight variation on this is to add red peppers – a very good way of ringing the changes.

Some comments:

  • I know it is missing the onion – I may add a red onion if I have one to hand
  • If I have any sundried tomato paste languishing in the fridge I would add that
  • If it is summer and I’m in a Mediterranean country I might add, Locatelli-style, some chopped up real tomatoes (yes, with their skins, but if you want to know how to quickly peel them go to ‘best and quickest way to peel tomatoes’)
  • Also, if it’s spring or summer I would substitute the dried herbes de Provence for fresh herbs, in particular LOTS of parsley, or basil.
  • Give the sauce a middle eastern twang by adding 80g/⅓ cup of light tahini and a couple of teaspoons of dry-fried and crushed (again, your kitchen will smell heavenly) coriander seeds.


For four to six people with pasta


  • 2 tins good quality tinned tomatoes
  • 5 fat cloves of garlic
  • Smoked salt, Indonesian long black pepper
  • Two stalks of celery
  • 1 heaped tsp Spanish sweet smoked paprika
  • Couple of tablespoons of olive oil for frying
  • Good slosh (two tablespoons) red martini
  • 1 tbsp herbes de Provence
  • 1 tsp soft brown sugar
  • 1 tsp thick, good quality balsamic vinegar
  • optional – 3 red peppers, finely chopped


  1. Wash and destring the celery and chop it quite small
  2. Fry it in the olive oil in a smallish saucepan over low heat for about ten minutes
  3. Crush the garlic with the smoked salt and add it to the pan, together with the paprika – frying the paprika will bring out the flavour and make your kitchen smell divine
  4. add the chopped red peppers if using
  5. Chop the tomatoes if you are using whole ones, and add, together with the juice they’re in, to the saucepan
  6. AddA all the rest of the ingredients and simmer gently for about 20 minutes


This post is dedicated to my son

tomato sauce

super-quick tomato sauce