This classic is great as a pizza sauce, on pasta or with breadsticks. Similar to a tomate mother sauce, the recipe invites you to build on flavors. Add slices of Italian sausage or mushrooms with the pancetta; add a teaspoon of fennel seed with the Italian seasoning, or try a teaspoon of orange zest (trust me). You can never go wrong with a glug of wine or vodka – just remove the skillet from heat after sauteing the celery, onion and garlic, carefully pour in the alcohol and let it cook down a few minutes before adding the tomatoes and stock. Introduce some fresh herbs as a finish – or dashes of sugar, balsamic vinegar, crushed red pepper or Parmesan cheese.
½ cup diced pancetta or salt pork
1 Tbsp. olive oil
¹∕³ cup diced carrot
¹∕³ cup diced celery
¹∕³ cup diced onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1 Tbsp. Italian seasoning
1 28-oz. can crushed tomatoes
1 cup chicken stock
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
• In a large skillet over medium heat, saute the pancetta in the olive oil 5 minutes.
• Add the carrot, celery, onion, garlic and Italian seasoning, and stir until fragrant, about 2 minutes.
• Add the tomatoes and chicken stock, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer at least 15 minutes. Simmering will continue to develop flavors, but don’t cook longer than 2 hours.
• Using an immersion blender, puree to desired texture. Season with salt and pepper to taste.