Salsa Rapida Di Pomodoro (Quick Tomato Sauce)

December 11, 2020  |  By Peg Kern
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Tomatoes on the vine in ItalyThis tomato sauce can be made with either ripe, fresh tomatoes or canned San Marzano tomatoes. The brief simmering time makes this sauce remain light and satisfying, tasting as if you just harvested tomatoes from your garden – especially appreciated during the winter doldrums! Blending so well with herbs and other flavorings, it is equally delectable served with fish, shellfish, chicken and pasta. Enjoy…

Learn it on one of our cooking vacations in Italy!

Salsa Rapida Di Pomodoro (Quick Tomato Sauce)

Serves: 4
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 40 minutes
Cook method: Sauté, Simmer


  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive, sunflower or canola oil
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped yellow onion
  • Minced garlic, optional
  • 6 cups peeled, seeded, well-drained plum or San Marzano tomatoes*
  • Fresh herbs, such as oregano, basil, sage or rosemary, optional
  • Pinch of fresh lemon zest, finely chopped or thin julienne, optional
  • Salt and freshly ground white pepper to taste

Gourmet pasta dish on cooking vacation in ItalyInstructions:

1. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, warm the oil. Add the onion and saute for 2-3 minutes or until translucent, but do not brown. (If you like garlic, add it now. Saute for a few seconds, just until fragrant, then proceed with the next step.)

2. Add the tomatoes and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally, until thickened, usually 30-35 minutes for canned tomatoes and 40-45 minutes for fresh tomatoes.

3. About 5 minutes before the sauce is finished, stir in the fresh herbs and/or lemon zest to taste, any that appeal to you or according to an individual recipe, then finish thickening the sauce. Season to taste. Use immediately or cool, cover, refrigerate or freeze.

A fresh batch of homemade tomato sauce made during a cooking vacation in Italy with The International Kitchen.Chef’s Tip
Use 3 pounds ripe plum tomatoes or 2 28-ounce cans San Marzano tomatoes, drained. Plum tomatoes and San Marzanos, a type of plum tomato conveniently found canned in many grocery stores, are ideal for making tomato sauces. Possessing a greater proportion of pulp to seeds and juice than many other varieties, they cook quickly,  producing a sauce with the right amount of sweetness to acidity and blend beautifully with so many flavors.

Try finishing this sauce with fresh basil, rosemary and a pinch of lemon zest the next time you need a tomato-based sauce for fish. So simple yet so special in flavor, it will become a favorite in your kitchen.

Try pairing it with one of our recipe from our cooking vacations in Italy, such as:

By Peg Kern

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