Saltsa Domata

Basic Tomato Sauce

ONIONS and sweet wine are key ingredients in this well-balanced tomato sauce. Cinnamon is common in traditional Greek tomato sauce and in almost any dish that contains tomatoes. Maria Primikiri of Folegandros gave me the recipe.

This sauce freezes well, and I usually have some in my freezer in case I decide to make a quick pasta dish.


  • cup olive oil
  • 1 cup finely chopped red onions
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 cup sweet wine, such as Mavrodaphne or sweet Marsala
  • ½–1 teaspoon Aleppo pepper or ¼–½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • cups grated ripe tomatoes (see Note) (about pounds) or one 16-ounce can diced tomatoes with their juice
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • Salt
  • Sugar


In a medium saucepan, heat the oil and sauté the onions over medium heat for about 3 minutes, or until soft. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes, or until glossy. Add the wine and pepper and simmer for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes, cinnamon stick, salt and about 1 tablespoon sugar, or to taste, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 20 minutes, or until the sauce thickens. Remove from the heat and discard the cinnamon stick.

The sauce will keep in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.