3tablespoonsextra virgin olive oil + extra for drizzling
1teaspoonsugar more if necessary
¾teaspoonfine sea salt or Kosher salt, more to taste
¼teaspoonground black pepper more to taste
Tomatoes: If the tomatoes are fresh, peel and chop them finely. If the canned tomatoes are whole, chop them finely. Set them aside.
Sauté: Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Cook 1 small finely chopped onion with a pinch of salt on medium-low heat for about 6 minutes until soft. It should get golden and not brown; if it colors too quickly, reduce the heat to very low. Stir often.
Add passata, chopped tomatoes (or fresh chopped tomatoes), ½ teaspoon fine sea salt, ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper, 1 teaspoon granulated sugar, and one sprig of fresh basil (left whole).
Simmer: Cover the pot leaving a small crack open, bring the sauce to a simmer and cook slowly for 30 minutes until it is slightly thicker, occasionally stirring.
Adjust the taste with more salt, pepper, and a little more sugar if necessary. Remove the cooked basil sprig. Stir in the chopped basil leaves and add a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.
Optional: Blend the sugo until you reach the desired consistency; you can make it completely smooth (I never blend it all).
Use high-quality passata and canned tomatoes. DOP San Marzano tomatoes would be perfect.
If using fresh tomatoes, you will need about 2 ½ lbs (1200 g). Ensure that they are ripe and sweet; it’s preferable to use garden tomatoes or buy them at the farmer’s market.
Remove the peel from fresh tomatoes before chopping them (See Expert Tips).