Aunt Maggie’s Summer Tomato Sauce

It seems I owe you a recipe. I didn’t mean to be so slack about posting one, but I couldn’t very well give you the recipe for, um… spoonfuls of peanut butter and marshmallow fluff straight from the jar. Which has sort of been what I’ve been calling dinner lately. Yeah that’s right, I said marshmallow fluff. …What?

Alright, it’s embarassing. I mean, I’m supposed to be a chef! And all I can come up with for dinner is a spoonful (or, ahem, seven) of Skippy and highly-processed marshmallow cream? I feel like a sheep in chef’s clothing. But between my exhausting endeavors at school (yesterday I peeled and chopped ohhhhh, about 40 pounds of beets), my new internship at Liddabit Sweets, and the the fact that it’s now officially dark when I wake up at 6 a.m. (talk about depressing!), come dinnertime it’s all I can do to unscrew the lid of peanut butter and lift the damn spoon.

Fortunately, others I know are not so delinquent when it comes to dinner these days. My Aunt Maggie, for example… thank goodness for her. A graduate of chef school herself (she went to Le Cordon Bleu after college), Aunt Mag (also known as Aunt Babe – she’s the youngest child in my Dad’s family) is undeterred by the 6 a.m. darkness that’s been settling like a thick veil over what’s left of summertime. When the light of summer fades, Maggie knows better than to take solace in a jar of fluff. She makes tomato sauce.

Aunt Maggie’s Summer Tomato Sauce
Adapted from Real Simple Magazine

Instead of moping over summer’s end, Maggie puts summer in a jar, in the form of this tomato sauce, and freezes it. VoilĂ ! The taste of summer, all year round.
Maggie’s tomato sauce parties are famous – she and her friends use 75 (!) pounds (!) of tomatoes – but she was nice enough to give me the proportions for an individual batch. That said, feel free to double, triple, even quadruple the recipe – trust me, this stuff will make you forget all about the impending chill of fall… and the jar of fluff in the cabinet.


  • 8-10 ripe tomatoes
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 4-5 cloves garlic, thinly sliced or chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/3 cup chopped basil


Bring a pot of water to boil. Score an “X” in each tomato with a paring knife, and drop them in the boiling water for 30 seconds. Remove the tomatoes and immediately place them in a bowl of ice water. Then, peel the skins off each tomato. Cut tomatoes in half, and squeeze out as many seeds as possible. Next, chop the tomatoes coarsely.

Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until soft, and then add the garlic and cook for a few more minutes, until fragrant. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, salt and pepper, and simmer, covered, for one and a half hours. Turn off the heat and stir in the basil.

Serve immediately (over pasta! On a pizza! Straight up with a loaf of bread!) or portion into plastic containers and freeze.

Makes about a quart of tomato sauce.

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2 Responses to Aunt Maggie’s Summer Tomato Sauce

  1. BRG says:

    Here's the thing: Marshmallow fluff is one of the great products of our time. And, if you're eating both fluff and peanut butter directly from the jar, well, someone taught you well. And I've had Aunt Babe's tomato sauce, and it's yumsville. Really!

  2. Jane says:

    hi chef molly!
    i'm going to make this one!!!
    it was SOOOOOO good to see you the other night — i have missed you!!!

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