From America's Test Kitchen Season 1: Tomato Sauces for Pasta
The best fresh tomato sauces capture the contrasting sweet and tart flavors of ripe tomatoes. But often, these sauces get waterlogged from the tomato juice. We wanted a cooked sauce that allowed the flavors of the traditional players—tomatoes, basil, garlic, and oil—to meld, but not become watered down. Quick cooking was the key to preserving fresh tomato flavor and creating a sauce that is both hearty and brightly flavored. To prevent unattractive pieces of curled-up tomato skin floating in our finished sauce, we simply peeled the tomatoes by boiling them and pulling off their skins. Seeded tomatoes made for a less watery start to the sauce, and cooking them down for a brief period facilitated the evaporation of any remaining liquid. Chopped fresh basil rounded out the flavors of the sauce, and a last-minute drizzle of olive oil brought a richness that complemented the sweetness of the tomatoes.
Any type of tomato may be used in this recipe—just make sure to choose the ripest, most flavorful ones available. Short tubular or curly pasta shapes such as penne or fusilli are well-suited to this chunky sauce. Alternately, before adding the basil, the sauce may be pureed in a blender or food processor so it will coat strands of spaghetti or linguine. The recipe may be doubled in a 12-inch skillet. The sauce freezes well, but add the basil when reheating.