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Christoph’s™ Tomato Sauce

Serves 6 – Preparation time 30 minutes. 

Tomato Sauce Basic 02

 Image may be subject to copyright. Original source unknown.






An authentic Italian tomato sauce is not an authentic Italian tomato sauce. So many chefs, cooks or aspiring cooks make bold titles such as "Authentic Italian," etc., when the truth is, unless a recipe is actually government specified, no recipe is authentic.

For example, you can discover definitive proclamations on any number of websites that Ragu alla Bolognese contains no garlic. Yet, one of the world's most renowned Italian chefs and publishers of Italian cuisine, Marcella Hazan, adds garlic to her meat sauce. What this tells us is that, although specific recipes include common ingredients, even the most highly regarded chefs or cooks will put their own twist to a renowned dish. After all, that's what makes great cooking -- experimentation and perhaps originality.

Go to Italy, Germany, France, Asia, Mexico, South America –- any country, continent or region, each household or family has its own version of what they consider to be authentic –- the real thing, the best. Our memories, or how our parents or grandmother made it, is what represents the "original" or the "real" thing to each of us.

So, for that reason, I give my tomato sauce my name and do not make claims of authenticity to a country or region. It is a sauce which includes the commonly included ingredients used for hundreds of years. What differentiates one tomato sauce recipe from another is the quality of ingredients available at the time, the cooking process and personal preference. If you dislike garlic, don't use it. It can still be a great sauce.

I hope you enjoy this one. Because I enjoy experimentation, every time I make it, it is slightly different.



Basic Sauce Ingredients – Portion: 1 Gallon

  • 10 to 12 lb. / 4.54 to 5.44 kg. fresh tomatoes

     (9 lb. / 4.08 kg. canned whole tomatoes (plum / Romas)

     (Optional: roast the tomatoes for a deeper flavor)

  • 2 fl. oz. / 60 ml oil or other cooking fat
  • 12 oz. 340 gr. minced onions and/or
  • 1 oz. 28 gr. garlic
  • 3 oz. / 85 gr. chopped basil leaves
  • 1 tsp. salt or to taste
  • 1/4 tsp. fresh ground pepper or to taste

Ingredients – Portion: 1 Quart

  • 1135 gr. (2-1/2 lb.) fresh tomatoes
  • 15 gr. oil or cooking fat
  • 85 gr. minced onions
  • 7 gr. fresh garlic
  • 21 gr. chopped basil leaves
  • 1/4 tsp. salt or to taste
  • 1/8 tsp. fresh ground pepper or to taste




  1. On medium heat onion/vegetables may be sweated in fat until tender or, for a more complex flavor, sauté until lightly browned – 12 to 15 minutes;
  2. Add garlic and cook until soft – approximately 1 minute;
  3. Add tomatoes and any remaining ingredients and simmer until flavor is fully developed – approximately 45 minutes – depending on quality of tomatoes and natural moisture content;
  4. Stir frequently, skimming and tasting during the cooking time.
  5. If desired, add fresh herbs (such as a chiffonade of basil) 5 minutes or just before the sauce has finished cooking.

Cooking times vary, depending on the ingredients but, in general, the less the cooking time, the better the flavor for sauces based on fruits or vegetables. Most tomato sauces should be cooked just long enough for the flavors to meld together. If a tomato sauce is not going to be puréed, and is too watery, strain and reduce liquid separately to avoid overcooking;

  1. Stir tomato sauce frequently and taste for flavor occasionally;

If the flavor is harsh or bitter, sweat a small amount of onions and carrot and add; if the flavor is weak, add a small amount of potato paste or puree. Too much sweetness may be corrected by adding stock, water or more tomatoes.

Puree the sauce if desired; if using a blender, add a small amount of oil during pureeing. This will emulsify the sauce, creating a lighter, yet thicker consistency.

Check the balancing and seasoning and make necessary adjustments. Add flavor by adding salt, pepper, fresh herbs or other ingredients as desired.Serve or cool rapidly and refrigerate.

vegetables giardiniera



Options for Finishing & Flavors

Add ingredients at the appropriate time, some early and others later so that they retain their flavors and fresh taste:

  1. Fresh and/or dried herbs
  2. Smoked meats, ham bone or pork bone
  3. Tomato paste or puree
  4. Onions and carrots, sweated and chopped
  5. Various stocks




Tomato sauce may be thickened by using a Roux or pure starch slurries.

A good tomato sauce is opaque and slightly course with a concentrated flavor of tomatoes – without a trace of bitterness, excess acidity or sweetness. Ingredients selected to flavor the sauce should provide subtle underpinnings, not be overwhelming. Tomato sauces should pour easily.



All material, information and images are © 2015 - 2023 Christoph G. Olesch, unless otherwise noted, and may not be reproduced without permission. Certain content, material, information and images may be subject to copyrights by their respective owners, as indicated, and may not be reproduced without written agreement. All rights reserved.


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