Toughest Cowboy

Living in a Food Loving Household

Basic Tomato Sauce with Balsamic and Basil

I made pizza dough earlier this week using fresh yeast and strong bread flour. It was so delicious, I decided I’d finally cracked homemade pizza and was, in fact, a pizza making genius. Brilliant, I thought, I’ll make it again for the husband using the proper flour just to confirm I am indeed a pizza making genius.

Unfortunately an early evening trip to the out of hours doctor meant that the pizza dough was left proving for far too long and while the taste was good, I couldn’t get it thin enough so it was more of a thick crust American diner pizza than the yummy thin crust I’d made earlier in the week. So it turns out that I’m not in fact a pizza making genius and need a third go at the pizza dough recipe. However I did finally crack the tomato sauce so here it is.

Basic Tomato Sauce

If you’re making this for adults only or you’re not worried about using wine when children are going to eat it (I’m still weird about this) you can substitute the balsamic for 100ml of red wine. Makes enough for four adult pizzas.


  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tin of good quality tomatoes
  • 1 tsp balsamic vinegar or 100ml red wine
  • 1 pinch of sugar
  • Small handful of basil leaves, torn
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

Heat the oil in a pan, add the onion, and turn down to a medium heat and sauté for five minutes. When the time is up, add the garlic and cook for a further two minutes. Now add the balsamic vinegar, or red wine if you’re using, turn the heat up and allow to bubble away until all the liquid has evaporated.

Chuck in your tin of tomatoes, turn the heat down and allow to simmer gently for 30-45 minutes. When the sauce is ready, take off the heat and stir in a pinch of sugar (I think my pinch was around a quarter of a teaspoon) and the torn basil leaves. Allow to cool slightly before blitzing. I used this as a base for pizzas but it would also work well as a pasta sauce and of course it freezes well.

As you can see, I’ve taken to using washed up mini Carte d’Or ice cream pots for the toddler’s portions. They are the perfect size for us, plus something good needs to come out of all the ice cream eating that goes on in this house.


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