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Playing How To Make Slow-Simmered Tomato Sauce by Christopher Kimball

Think only in-season heirloom tomatoes make good tomato sauce? Think again.

"One of my favorite and simplest ways to take store-bought tomatoes from mealy to silky is by way of a slow simmer," says Christopher Kimball, author of Milk Street: The New Rules. "I use this technique to create versatile sauces, such as this one spiked with garlic, red pepper flakes and sage. Toss it with cooked pasta or use as pizza sauce. I also like it topped with fried eggs, a dollop of ricotta and some sautéed kale or Swiss chard."

For more ideas on how to make supermarket tomatoes taste amazing, try these recipes:
Slow-Roasted Tomatoes
Tomato Conserva
Quick Pickled Tomatoes

Adapted from Milk Street: The New Rules: Recipes That Will Change The Way You Cook by Christopher Kimball. Copyright © 2019 by Christopher Kimball. Used with permission by Voracious. All rights reserved.


  • ⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 medium garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 pound cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
  • ½ teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
  • ¾ teaspoon smoked paprika


In a 12-inch skillet over medium-high, heat olive oil until shimmering. Add garlic cloves, red pepper flakes and bay leaves, then cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add tomatoes, sugar, kosher salt and water. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring, until the tomatoes begin to break down, about 4 minutes. Reduce to medium-low and cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally and adjusting the heat to maintain a steady simmer, until the tomatoes have fully broken down and the sauce is thick enough that a spatula drawn through it leaves a trail, 45 to 55 minutes. Remove from the heat, then discard the bay. Stir in sage and paprika.