Basic Tomato Sauce

Provençale Sauce

I rarely buy tomatoes in winter since their flavour is so poor. For sauces and soups you get a much better result from canned tomatoes. This is a basic sauce that can be varied in many ways. For instance, you might add a teaspoon (or more) of grated fresh root ginger or orange rind to make a good sauce to accompany fish. Any sauce that is not used immediately can be frozen.


  • 65 ml/ fl oz olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, sliced
  • 5 basil leaves
  • 1 sprig of marjoram
  • 2 × 400 g/14 oz cans tomatoes, and their juice
  • salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • lemon juice (optional)
  • sugar (optional)


Heat the oil in a pan and sweat the onion, garlic and herbs for 10 minutes. Add the. tomatoes, and salt and pepper to taste, and simmer until thick. Pass through a mouli légumes, or whizz in a processor or blender, then sieve. Adjust the seasonings, adding a dash of lemon juice and a pinch of sugar to bring out the flavour if necessary.