Recipe: Basic Quick Italian Tomato Sauce

The star ingredient tomatoes



  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 1/2 pounds ripe plum tomatoes (about 6-8), coarsely chopped (See Ann’s Tips)

  • 1 to 2 cloves garlic, smashed and thinly sliced lengthwise

  • 1 small dried red pepper, seeds removed (optional)

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt or to taste

  • 1 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese (optional)



  1. Heat the oil in a wok or heavy frying pan over medium-high heat. When the oil starts to shimmer add the garlic and stir-fry until golden. Do not let it burn or it will become bitter. If you like a spicy sauce, add the pepper.

  2. Add the tomatoes and stir-fry. There will be a lot of spitting and hissing as the wet tomatoes hit the hot oil. Turn the heat to medium-low and cook the tomatoes down until they are reduced by about half and have taken on a more orangey hue. Adjust the seasoning by adding salt to taste. If the sauce looks like it’s drying out too much, add a little water. At this point freeze if not using immediately.

  3. Add the Parmesan, taste for seasoning then serve.

Italian Tomato Sauce
Ann Ogden-Gaffney

About Ann Ogden Gaffney


Cook For Your Life started in 2007 after founder Ann Ogden Gaffney, who had already survived kidney cancer, took a break from a successful career in fashion to focus on the treatment for her second cancer diagnosis, triple negative breast cancer. Thrown deep into the world of hospitals and cancer, she became aware of the disconnect between getting information on healthy eating strategies and special clinical diets during cancer treatment, and the practical skills needed to get them on the table. Growing up with an Italian mother from a family of chefs and a father who was a Master Baker, Ann was quickly able to adapt recipes to help her cope with treatment side effects and ate well even on her worst days. But for many of friends in the chemo suite, it was a different story. They found it overwhelming trying to cope with these difficulties in the kitchen. To help them, Ann started sharing her cooking tips and advice with them, which eventually led to recipes, and onto her first free hands-on cooking class for people touched by cancer.

Coqui the Chef's Food Tip:


Heirloom tomatoes come in all shapes and sizes. They’re called heirlooms because the seeds for each type were passed down through generations of family farmers. Now many gardeners and farmers can grow different kinds. They sell them at farmer’s markets so we can all try and pick our favorites.



Disclaimer/No Medical Advice Given. The information on this website is for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for professional medical help, advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified healthcare provider with any questions you have regarding your health care. Use at your risk. 

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