Classic Tomato Sauce

Any seasonal, vine-ripened tomato will melt beautifully into a sauce, but you may want to save the specialty heirloom varieties for eating fresh. The choice of herb flavoring is flexible: We used tender herbs like basil and mint here, but you also could choose sturdy herbs, such as marjoram, oregano and rosemary. If you do, add them earlier with the tomatoes.

2 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons minced garlic
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper
5 lb. tomatoes, coarsely chopped (12 cups)
1 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup chopped fresh tender herbs, such as basil or mint
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1. Heat oil in large nonreactive Dutch oven or pot over medium-low heat until warm. Add garlic and crushed red pepper; cook 1 to 2 minutes or until softened and fragrant but not browned, stirring constantly.

2. Add tomatoes and salt; bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Gently boil over medium to medium-low heat 45 to 60 minutes or until reduced and thickened to desired consistency, stirring frequently and mashing tomatoes with potato masher. (To remove tomato skins and seeds, pass sauce through a food mill into a large bowl, if desired.) Stir in herbs and black pepper. (Tomato sauce can be covered and refrigerated for up to 4 days or frozen for up to 6 months.)

12 (1/2-cup) servings

PER SERVING: 55 calories, 2.6 g total fat (.5 g saturated fat), 1.5 g protein, 7.5 g carbohydrate, 0 mg cholesterol, 205 mg sodium, 2 g fiber

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