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Fresh Tomato Sauce with Capers & Olives
From High-flavor, Low-fat Italian Cooking, by Steven Raichlen

This sauce is a rich, chunky tomato sauce made with fresh tomatoes and loaded with flavorful bits of capers and olives. I make this sauce when tomatoes are in season: in the winter here in Florida, in late summer up North. If you can't find luscious ripe fresh tomatoes, use good imported canned plum tomatoes. (You'll need a 28-ounce can.) If you like anchovies, you can always chop a few and add them to the sauce.


1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 to 2 cloves garlic, smashed with the side of a cleaver and peeled
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 Tbsp tomato paste
1/2 tsp dried oregano (or 8 fresh oregano leaves)
3 to 4 large ripe tomatoes (about 2 pounds), peeled and finely chopped (with their juices)
1/2 tsp sugar (optional)
2 Tbsp capers, undrained
4 pitted black olives, finely chopped
freshly ground black pepper


Heat the olive oil in a large nonstick frying pan. Add the garlic and cook over medium heat until fragrant, about 1 minute. Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the onion. Cook until a rich golden-brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the tomato paste and oregano and cook for 2 minutes.

Add the tomatoes with their juices and the sugar, capers, olives, salt, and pepper and gently simmer the sauce, stirring often with a wooden spoon, until thick and richly flavored, about 10 minutes. Correct the seasoning, adding salt or sugar as needed.

Yield: makes 3 to 4 cups sauce, enough to serve 6 to 8

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