When plum tomatoes are no longer available at the farmers' market, I turn to this easy, yet still delicious basic sauce (sugo di pomodoro semplice). Using superior-quality canned tomatoes and good olive oil makes all the difference in this recipe. I use diced imported Italian tomatoes packed in their natural juices, which yield a fresher-tasting sauce than one made from tomatoes in heavy puree, which gives the sauce the flavor of tomato paste/puree.
2. Remove from the heat and stir in the basil. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt, if you like.
Simplify: The sauce may be stored in a tightly lidded container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Smooth Tomato Sauce Variation: For some recipes, such as Ravioloni Valle Scannese, I like to use a smooth, rather than chunky, sauce. The sauce performs as a cloak, without any textural distraction. The flavor, too, is different. When the tomatoes are pureed, the sauce is a bit mellower. To make smooth tomato sauce, pass the tomatoes through a food mill fitted with the disk with the smallest holes before you add them to the pan, then proceed as directed.
Excerpted from The Glorious Pasta of Italy by Domenica Marchetti
Adam Rapoport, editor in chief of Bon Appetit magazine and the website www.bonappetit.com, knows his way around a grill. He has edited an entire book on the subject: The Grilling Book: The Definitive Guide from Bon Appetit.