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Mad Tomato Sauce

Salsa Arrabbiata

Makes 3 1/2 Cups

My grandmothers and mother made tomato sauce every week and firmly believed that you had to cook the tomatoes all day long in order to produce a good sauce. What made a lengthy cooking time necessary were the tough cuts of meat, such as chuck and pork butt, that were put in to simmer and flavor the sauce. I don't have all day to cook sauce, but I'd bet a bushel of tomatoes that even my grandmothers and mother would like tomato sauce done my way.


3 pounds fresh plum tomatoes

3 tablespoons Filippo Berio extra virgin olive oil

3 large cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 1/2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/3 cup minced fresh basil


Preheat the oven to 400 F.

Cut the tomatoes in half. Place them cut side down on a baking sheet and bake for 10 to 15 minutes, or until they are just slightly soft. Transfer the tomatoes to a food processor or blender and pulse until very smooth. Set aside.

In a medium saucepan, heat the olive oil. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook until the garlic is soft. Add the pureed tomatoes and cook for 10 minutes. Pour the sauce into a sieve set over a bowl and strain, using a wooden spoon to press on the solids to extract as much liquid as possible; discard the solids. Add the salt, pepper, and basil; stir to blend. The sauce is best when freshly made but can be refrigerated for up to 1 week.

Note: This sauce is great over any type of short, chunky macaroni. I like it with orecchiette.

This recipe is from CIAO ITALIA by Mary Ann Esposito, published by William Morrow and Company Inc., in 1991.


  1. Nicholas Dispensa's avatar

    Nicholas Dispensa

    We are looking for an authentic Silician pasta sauce recipe. We copied your Mad Tomato Sauce recipe. Is this Silician pasta sauce? If not could you provide us with one?

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