This is the most typical southern Italian pasta sauce, infinitely elegant in its simplicity. My friends have embraced this tomato sauce wholeheartedly. It is quick and easy to make, and for those who have kids, it is one of the first recipes they make when their kids are old enough to start cooking. The kids can help break up the canned tomatoes, and they enjoy the delicious sauce without fail. For the parents, this sauce takes the place of store-bought pasta sauces: It is all natural, fresh, and super delicious. It can be used on its own to dress pasta, or it can serve as a base for several other dishes (for example, meatballs with tomatoes and dandelion greens). It is critical that you use fully ripe, high-quality canned tomatoes. I prefer organic canned tomatoes; they are less acidic, because they do not contain the preservative citric acid.
1. In a medium pan, heat the olive oil and garlic over low heat. When the garlic starts to sizzle, continue to cook it for a couple of minutes, or until it starts to change color. Do not let the garlic become brown, as that means it is burnt and will taste bitter.
2. Add the tomatoes and their juice and continue cooking at a slow simmer over low heat for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the sauce thickens. As the sauce starts to thicken, season with salt to taste and add the sugar (to balance the acidity of the tomatoes).
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