Tomato Sauce

Oh, what the did the cooking world do before Alton Brown? He makes a mean tomato sauce, the kind that will stay in your recipe box for years and years. It’s my favorite tomato sauce for pasta or Chicken Parmesan and I’ve been making it for a long time. In fact, I destroyed a roasting pan making this sauce too many times in it. For real! So now I resort to using a cast-iron pot: it works well on the stove and it’s broiler-safe too. I hear it’s a bad idea to cook tomatoes in cast-iron but if you clean it up and season it well afterwards it’s all good. I made a few changes to Alton’s recipe over the years, and this is my take on it:

Tomato Sauce
Serves 4
Total Time
1 min
Total Time
1 min
127 calories
14 g
0 g
7 g
2 g
1 g
187 g
358 g
9 g
0 g
6 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
Amount Per Serving
Calories 127
Calories from Fat 65
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 7g
Saturated Fat 1g
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 5g
Cholesterol 0mg
Sodium 358mg
Total Carbohydrates 14g
Dietary Fiber 2g
Sugars 9g
Protein 2g
Vitamin A
Vitamin C
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
  1. 28-ounce can whole, peeled tomatoes
  2. 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  3. 1 tbsp sugar
  4. 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  5. 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  6. 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  7. 1/2 onion
  8. 1 large carrot
  9. 1 ounces olive oil
  10. 2 cloves garlic
  11. 2 tablespoons capers, rinsed and drained
  12. 2 tbsp white wine
  13. salt and black pepper to taste (usually about 1/2 tsp each)
  1. Peel and finely chop half an onion. Chop the carrot and the garlic cloves. Set aside.
  2. In a small pot add the following: juice from the can of tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, sugar, red pepper flakes, oregano and basil. Simmer on low heat until it's reduced by half.
  3. Turn on the broiler. In the mean time, clean the whole tomatoes of the seeds and set aside only the flesh of the tomatoes. In a large cast-iron pot add the olive oil, chopped onion, carrot and garlic. Cook on medium heat until everything is soft and just starting to brown. Add the capers and tomatoes (the flesh part you set aside) and put the cast-iron pot under the broiler for about 5-7 minutes. Keep watching it; the tomatoes should start just browning around the edges. Once you've roasted the tomato mixture (but not burnt!), remove the pot from the broiler and put it back on the stove top on medium heat. We're done with the broiler, so you can turn it off. Add the white wine to the pot and stir.
  4. By now, the tomato juice from our small pot should have reduced; add it to the cast-iron pot. Simmer everything together for a few minutes, to let all the flavors mingle together. Turn off the heat and wait for the sauce to cool down. It should be quite chunky, so I like to blend it to a smoother consistency.
  5. Serve over pasta or eggplant parmesan.
Adapted from Alton Brown
Adapted from Alton Brown
A Kitchen Odyssey