I have always advocated freshly cooked food. If you open my freezer or pantry cupboard, you will not find even one tray of ready to eat meals. I don’t hoard jars and cans of tomatoes (I mean, really–how long does it take to chop a tomato?) and corn or sauces of a zillion kinds. If you ask me, all it takes to cook yourself and your family a wholesome, freshly cooked, nutritious meal everyday is just a little commonsense. And that commonsense does not always imply hiring a cook or ordering out.

Especially since I became a mother, I am more particular about having fresh produce in my fridge. I don’t labor for hours in the kitchen cooking elaborate meals everyday, but I make sure what I put on the table is preservative-free and safe. As a giveaway for my first cooking class, I made this tomato sauce and got a lot of people writing in and asking me for the recipe, so I thought it might be a good idea to share it here.  I use it for pastas and pizza, but also just as often for dips (in combination with cream cheese–yum!) or as a flavor base to build a risotto or even an Indian curry on. I make a huge batch of it because it lasts for at least two weeks in the fridge.

For lunch today, I simply tossed some spaghetti in the tomato sauce and ate it alongside some mushroom-topped toasted baguette.

*What’s your favorite go-to ingredient?*

Basic Tomato Sauce for Pasta, Pizza, and Dips


  • 1 kg. ripe tomatoes
  • 2 fat cloves of garlic, minced
  • 3 tbsp. tomato ketchup (optional)
  • salt to taste
  • 1 tbsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp. chili flakes
  • 2 tbsp. good quality olive oil.


  1. Make crosses on the tomatoes and place in a microwave-safe bowl with some water and microwave until soft. Alternatively, blanch the tomatoes in a pot of boiling water.
  2. Peel, blend, and pass through a sieve if you have the patience. I simply put them through a blender skin, seeds, and all.
  3. Heat olive oil in a thick-bottomed saucepan and add the garlic.Saute for a scant minute and tip in the tomato puree.
  4. Stir to combine and add the rest of the ingredients.Simmer until reduced.
  5. Store in an air-tight jar up to two weeks.

To use in pastas or pizzas, heat through with a couple of torn basil leaves. To make a lip-smacking dip to go with celery sticks, crackers, or chips, combine with cream cheese.