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Stanley Tucci's Tomato Sauce


Chef notes

The year my family was living in Florence my sister Gina became best friends with a young girl named Mirca. My parents in turn became friends with Mirca’s parents — Vittorio, who was a policeman, and his wife, Maria Rosa. To this day they remain friends, phoning throughout the year and visiting whenever they have the opportunity. Maria Rosa taught my mother how to make this sauce. We serve Salsa alla Maria Rosa with penne, farfalle, ziti or any other long tubular pasta such as rotini or fusilli. This sauce freezes very well.


  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 cup diced carrots (about 2 medium-sized carrots)
  • 1/2 cup diced celery (about 2 small tender stalks)
  • 1 cup diced onions (about 1/2 large onion)
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian, flat-leafed parsley
  • 4 cups canned whole plum tomatoes (about one 35-ounce can)
  • kosher salt
  • black pepper



In a large saucepan set over medium heat, melt the butter in the olive oil.


When the butter is foaming, add the carrots, celery, onions and garlic, and cook, stirring often, until they have softened, 8 to 10 minutes.


Stir in the parsley.


Stir in the tomatoes, crushing them with your hands or with the back of a slotted spoon as you add them to the pan.


Bring the sauce to a boil.


Season with salt and pepper.


Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, partially covered, until the tomatoes are sweetened and cooked, about 45 minutes.

Variations: To create a less coarse version of this sauce, puree the tomatoes in a food mill or food processor before proceeding with this recipe. Also, 1 pound ground beef may be added to the sauce before the tomatoes. Cook until the beef is lightly browned and then proceed with the recipe.