Authentic Italian Chunky Tomato Sauce

Salsa Pic-Pac
(Chunky Tomato Sauce)
From “The Heart of Sicily” by  Anna Tasca Lanza, adapted and translated by Ann Harvey Yonkers


1 large red onion, coarsely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup olive oil
2 pounds fresh plum tomatoes, peeled, cored, and coarsely chopped*
1/2 cup basil leaves, torn
1 teaspoon sugar
salt and black pepper, to taste


Peel the tomatoes by placing them in boiling water for 10 seconds or so. Pull them out of the pot, wait until they are cool enough to handle, and slip the peels off.* Core with a sharp knife.

Chop red onion and garlic. Sautée in the olive oil.

Add the tomatoes and cook.

Add the basil, sugar, salt and pepper, to taste.

Partially cover the pan and continue to cook 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. The time it takes the sauce to thicken will depend on how juicy the tomatoes are and how thick you prefer it.

* My Grandmother Tallmadge’s tip: Peeling tomatoes easily is done by dropping them into boiling water for about 10 seconds. Pick them out of the boiling water (carefully with a fork or slotted spoon), wait for them to cool down enough to handle, and the peel slips off easily.

If possible, use 50 pounds of end-of-season, vine-ripe, locally-grown tomatoes, multiply the recipe by 25 and gather an assembly line of friends to help!

Charlie Yonkers, Richard Flax, Kathy Alley in the Yonkers' St. Michaels, MD Kitchen

Ann Yonkers’ tip: “If you dont have time to make tomato sauce now, wash and freeze the tomatoes whole in a ziplock bag. Take them out and the skin will slip right off.”

Ann Harvey Yonkers and Kathy Alley

NOTE: Ann Yonkers, co-founder of Fresh Farm Markets, tested and adapted Anna Tasca Lanza’s recipes, careful to preserve the authenticity of the Italian recipes in “The Heart of Sicily,” visiting Sicily four times for the project.

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