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All-Purpose Tomato Sauce

Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings 4


  • 1 large onion - minced
  • 8 cloves garlic - minced
  • 3 stalks of celery - finely chopped
  • 25 g dried mushrooms - I used a mix of shiitake oyster and porcini mushrooms
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 28 oz cans plum tomatoes
  • 40 g sun dried tomatoes
  • 3 vegetable stock cubes optional
  • 2 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp ginger powder
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp sea salt or pink salt
  • 3 tbsp fresh basil or 1 tbsp dried basil
  • 2 tbsp fresh oregano or 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme or 1 tsp dried thyme
  • A handful of fresh parsley - to garnish


  1. Wash and rinse the dried mushrooms, and soak them for 15 minutes in hot water.
  2. While the dried mushrooms are soaking, wash the celery and prepare the remaining ingredients. Dice the onions, celery, mince the garlic and set aside.
  3. Place the canned plum tomatoes and sundried tomatoes into a food processor or blender. Pulse until the tomatoes are blended into chunky pieces.
  4. On medium high in a deep pan or pot, heat some olive oil and saute the onions until they are translucent.
  5. Add the diced celery and saute for a further 5 minutes.
  6. Add the garlic and season with salt and pepper. We don’t want to add the garlic too soon as it has a really low burning point and, therefore, easily burned.
  7. Drain the dried mushrooms and add them to the pot. Saute for 5 minutes.
  8. Add the tomatoes and remaining spices; ginger powder, brown sugar, cayenne pepper, stock cubes...etc. Simmer on medium heat for 45 minutes. Stirring occasionally.
  9. Remove any large pieces of basil (if you used fresh basil), and sprinkle fresh parsley. Serve over pasta, use as a base for chili or as a dip.