If you like the taste of long-cooked tomato sauce, you won't do better than this recipe
2 tablespoons olive oil
10 cloves garlic, chopped coarsely (about 1/3 cup)
1 large yellow onion, diced (about 1 1/2 cups)
5 pounds fresh plum tomatoes, chopped coarsely, or equal amount canned plum tomatoes, drained
4 fresh bay leaves, pulverized with butt end of knife to release flavor, or 2 whole dried bay leaves
3 whole sprigs of rosemary or 1 tablespoon dried leaves
3 whole sprigs of thyme or 2 teaspoons dried leaves
1 tablespoon coarse salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup firmly packed basil leaves, cut into chiffonnade
1. Heat olive oil in large kettle over moderate heat, add garlic and onion, and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add all other ingredients except the basil and cook over low heat, covered, stirring occasionally, for 2 hours. Remove cover and cook for 3 more hours. If using dried bay leaves, remove them.
2. If using fresh tomatoes, pass the sauce through a food mill to remove skins and return to pot. Whichever tomatoes you're using, cook for another hour over moderately high heat until reduced by about one third. Adjust seasoning. Add basil and toss with warm pasta. Serve immediately.
Note: If using canned tomatoes, you have the option of not using the food mill as there are no tomato skins to be removed. After the first 5 hours of cooking, remove the herb sprigs and dried bay leaves and reduce sauce over moderately high heat by about one third. Adjust seasoning and add basil. This will be a chunkier sauce.
If you like the taste of long-cooked tomato sauce, you won't do better than this recipe. It does take 6 hours to reach its apogee, but it takes virtually no pot-watching. When you taste the finished product, you won't believe the intensity and concentration of tomato flavor -- with a finish, like good wine, that lasts for minutes. Makes enough sauce for 1 1/2 pounds pasta