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If using fresh tomatoes, to peel them, bring water to
boil in a large pot. Meanwhile, use a paring knife to core
the very tops of the tomatoes. Now make an "X" at the bottom
of the fruit, just enough to break the skin. Have a
sanitized sink or very large bowl full of ice water ready.
Drop tomatoes in boiling water for no more than 1 minute.
Immediately remove to ice water for at least a minute. Use
the "X" at the bottom of the tomatoes to help peel the skin
off and discard. Halve tomatoes and scoop out the seeds.
Crush tomatoes with your hands into a bowl, retaining as
much of the natural juices as possible. Set aside. If using
canned whole tomatoes, gently crush tomatoes into a bowl,
reserving canned juice.
Heat oil in large sauté pan over medium heat. Add roughly
chopped garlic and sauté until just starting to brown on the
edges but DO NOT LET BURN, about 2 minutes. It's not too
common to sauté garlic for this amount of time, but it is
crucial to the overall flavor of the sauce.
Add crushed tomatoes, of either kind, to the heated
garlic oil and stir well. If using fresh tomatoes, add all
the juices; if using canned tomatoes, add most of the juice.
When tomatoes come up to heat, stir in sea salt to taste and
the crushed red peppers. Lower heat to allow a good simmer,
but not a boil. Cook until it just starts to thicken and
change to a darker color, at least 45 minutes. Stir in red
wine. Continue cooking until thickness desired, usually
10-15 minutes longer. Five minutes before cooking is done,
add fresh basil and stir. Adjust seasonings and use as you
*Chiffonade is the French term for thinly sliced items.
The easiest way to chiffonade basil is to stack leaves on
top of each other. Then roll long ways, like a cigar, and
cut thin slices across the roll.