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Recipe: Andrew D’Ambrosi’s Famous Tomato Sauce

Hailing from Brooklyn originally but growing up in Miami, Andrew has long been inspired by his travels and multi-ethnic cuisines. He has now brought his wealth of experience to D’Ambrosi Fine Foods in the Cotswolds, offering restaurant quality food-to-go with dishes ranging from lobster rolls, BBQ ribs, ceviche and their sell-out Southern fried chicken. Andrew has kindly revealed his top secret recipe and method for the most incredible tomato sauce, featuring very simple ingredients with an emphasis on execution.

At its core, there are three ingredients: tomatoes, garlic, and olive oil. Anyone can put these together and make a sauce, but Andrew explains the technique that makes this version superior to all others.

  • Firstly, do not peel the tomatoes. The skin contains pectin which will make the sauce cling to your pasta once reduced.

  • Secondly, the garlic needs to be 'toasted' in olive oil from cold. This process will release more from the garlic, flavouring the oil.

  • Thirdly, please pay attention. It's a considerably quick recipe and you'll need to see it through to the end. If you turn your attention elsewhere for longer than a few minutes you'll either burn the garlic or the sauce completely.

  • Lastly, take care not to over season before it's reduced. It's best to season to taste once it's finished.

Makes approximately one litre (8 servings of pasta)


2.5 litres of tomatoes (quartered)

.75g garlic cloves (sliced thin)

250ml olive oil

1 pinch chili flakes

Salt and pepper to taste

Handful of capers & chopped basil (optional)


  • Quarter tomatoes and reserve. If you have a mandoline, use it to slice the garlic cloves as thinly as possible. If you don't have a mandoline, slice with a very sharp knife. Keep the slices as even as possible as you want them all to toast evenly.

  • Combine olive oil and sliced garlic in a wide, deep pot (like a rondeau pan). You'll want plenty of surface area, which will help the sauce reduce faster. If the pot is too narrow it will take a lot more time and attention.

  • Turn on high heat and stir continuously until garlic is golden brown then immediately add the tomatoes with a pinch of chili flake. Stir constantly to avoid scorching. Add a couple pinches of salt to season, but not too much.

  • You want to reduce the sauce until it’s as dry as possible. The sauce should be tight and won't come back together when you drag a spoon through it. This entire process normally takes about 30-40 minutes.

  • I recommend wearing a long sleeve shirt or kitchen gloves as it will occasionally pop with molten hot sauce which will burn you ferociously.

  • Once the sauce is ready, season with salt and pepper to taste. At this point, spread out on a tray or baking pan and allow to cool. Add torn basil, capers, or any other garnishes you want. Reserve until needed, keeps and freezes beautifully.


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