Failed kitchen experiments and culinary hacks.

Winter Tomato Sauce with Rosemary Cream

30 Jan 2010


In continuing with the theme of open-sourcing my most beloved recipes, here is one of the classics that the girlfriend absolutely loves. However, I can't take all the credit, since my Dad has been making something very similar for as long as I can remember. I also can't speak for whether or not he wants this out in public, but it's a bit late for that and I don't think he'll serve me with a DCMA takedown notice.

While this recipe doesn't call for much active time, it is time consuming as the sauce should simmer for hours. This slow-simmering allows the the flavors to meld together, the sauce to thicken and the tomatoes to become a bit sweeter without any added sugar as is often required to balance out the acidity in quick tomato sauces. You can follow the tomato sauce recipe as a master recipe and exclude the rosemary cream infusion, but that might be viewed as a bit crazy since that is what really makes this sauce really special.

Also of note, this sauce is the recipe that I make in the winter using canned tomatoes, since fresh tomatoes are out-of-season and totally suck. For canned tomatoes, I almost always use fire roasted Muir Glen organic crushed tomatoes, since the roasting adds some nice depth of flavor. No, they're not paying me to say that, but I wish they were. When it gets warmer again in NYC and fresh tomatoes become available again, I'll consider sharing some fresh tomato sauce recipes. So, until the weather finally warms up, here you go:

Winter Tomato Sauce with Rosemary Cream Infusion

Makes enough for 2 lbs. pasta

  • 2 28-oz. cans diced tomatoes
  • 1 can tomato paste
  • 2 c. chicken stock
  • 4 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 large white onion, coarsely chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 carrots, sliced
  • 2 celery stalks, sliced
  • 1 c. dry red wine
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 tsp. dried basil
  • 1 c. heavy cream
  • 3 tbsp. fresh rosemary

  1. Place olive oil in a large sauce pan over medium heat. Add onions and saute for 5 minutes. Toss in the carrots and celery and cook for another 10 minutes, until they are soft and brighten in color. Add garlic and saute another 1 minute. While the mirepoix is sauteing, get busy with the can opener for your winter workout and open the tomatoes and tomato paste.
  2. Add the wine to the pan and deglaze the bottom, scraping up all the goodness on the bottom. Once the wine has cooked off, add in the stock, tomatoes, paste and dried herbs and bring to a boil. Turn the burner down the lowest setting to keep the sauce just barely simmering.
  3. Cook the sauce for 3 hours, stirring every 20-30 minutes, but more frequently towards the end, as it will be thicker and more prone to burning.
  4. At the tail end of the tomato sauce, put the heavy cream in a small pot with the rosemary and bring to a boil over low flame. Once boiling is achieved, turn off the flame and place a cover on the pot to allow the rosemary to infuse into the cream.
  5. When you are ready to serve, remove the bay leaves, unless you're dining with people you dislike. At this point, I usually place half of the sauce in a freezer bag to freeze, or reserve to use on pizza. Strain the rosemary from the cream. Mix the rosemary cream infusion into the remaining half of the sauce and finish the pasta in the sauce. Serve topped with parsley and parmesan.