Fresh Tomato Sauce

James Beard

Author and Educator

James Beard's simple tomato sauce is perfect for his Penne with Fried Eggplant, or any other pasta recipe.


  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 2½ pounds tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon fresh basil (or 1 teaspoon dried basil)


Melt the butter in a heavy saucepan. Add the onion and sauté over medium heat until soft and transparent. Add the tomatoes, salt, and basil and simmer gently for 10 minutes. Pour over freshly cooked pasta.

*Note: We recommend making extra to freeze for future use!


Makes enough to serve with 1½ pounds pasta