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Basil and Tomato Sauce with Olives and Anchovies

Basilico e Salsa di Pomodoro con Olive e Acciughe

This Basil and Tomato sauce is a direct result of my going basil crazy this year.   Suffice to say, the garden has some more unique basil in it.  I took the liberty of planting several varieties.  One is a dark leafy basil that has a mild licorice or anise flavor.  I used that to make this sauce, but any fresh basil will be excellent.  The direction I took this sauce was to play on the earthy and fresh nature of the basil, of which there are heaping quantities in the sauce.  The marriage of flavors between the acidic tomatoes, earthy olives and, and background punch of anchovy to bring the basil alive.

Basil and Tomato Sauce with Olives and Anchovies

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By Rick Britt Serves: 6-8
Prep Time: 30 minutes Cooking Time: 90 minutes

Basilico e Salsa di Pomodoro con Olive e Acciughe


  • 1.5 cups of fresh basil, on the stems ties in a tight bouquet
  • 1/2 White onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves peeled and whole
  • 1 Rind of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 28 ounce can of San Marzano tomatoes
  • Glug of white wine
  • 12 Green olives
  • 1/2 can of anchovies, mashed with a fork



Sweat onion and garlic in a tablespoon of olive oil for 2 minutes, do not brown just open the flavors up.


Add tomatoes and remaining ingredients simmer for one hour.


Ideally let cool for four hours to let flavors meld, but if time is of the essence, proceed.


Remove Basil bouquet, rind of cheese, and garlic cloves.


Simmer uncovered for 15 to 30 minutes to let sauce thicken, stirring occasionally to keep from burning.


Season to taste.


Store this in a Mason Jar in your fridge and it will keep for up to ten days. The longer you keep it the better the flavour Put a layer of Olive Oil on top to make an extra air tight seal.

To add this much basil, cup and a half, or so this Basil and Tomato sauce, you will want to remove it.  I recommend leave it on the stalks, and tie them like a bouquet of basil.  In other words leave them long and tie a string snugly around the middle.  When you are done it is easy to lift the spent bouquet out of the basil infused sauce.

Serve Basil and Tomato sauce with a grippy noodle, like penne, ziti, or rigatoni. Or ladle the over a white fish, beef or wild game steak.

Basil and Tomato Sauce with Olives and Anchovies

Basil and Tomato Sauce with Olives and Anchovies

Wine Matching

Because of the strong flavours  captured with the Basil and Tomato Sauce we recommend a good Italian varietal to counteract the the punch. Dominic Hentall Primitivo IGT Puglia 2018 really worked well. This powerhouse of a red still packs a punch whilst retaining a velvety Italian elegance. It’s gorgeously deep and dark and decadent, and so smooth it’ll slip down far too quickly. This Primitivo is brimming with Italian sunshine. Available from Naked Wines



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