As a carb-loving athlete, I’ve warmed up $1.99 jarred red sauce in motel room microwaves. I’ve splurged on $9.99 Rao's sauce (it’s good, but not that much better than Whole Foods 365 $3 sauces).
And one night this spring I savored Babbo’s Bolognese. It clung to the pasta in a silky coating, and made me swear off the watery jarred stuff. If I had time, I'd try to recreate Babbo chef Mario Batali’s 15-ingredient Bolognese. Instead I’m adding Athlete Food editor Melissa’s five-ingredient summer sauce to my repertoire. Melissa blends fresh tomatoes, bacon, and little else to make this rich and flavorful sauce. If you want a lower-fat sauce, cut the fat off the bacon and discard.
Shelf Life: The sauce keeps for 4 days in the fridge and 3 months in the freezer.
Summer Tomato Sauce with Bacon
Time: 20 minutes
Serves 2 as a pasta sauce
2 thick-cut or 4 slices regular bacon, chopped into Tic-Tac-size bits
2 large slicer or beefsteak tomatoes, finely chopped
Large pinch kosher salt
2 teaspoons sherry vinegar
Freshly ground black pepper
Cook the bacon in a large frying pan over medium heat until dark pink, but not crispy, 3 to 4 minutes. If there’s a lot of fat in the pan and this bothers you, turn the heat off and mop up some of the fat with a paper towel.
Add the chopped tomato and large pinch of salt, stir, and raise the heat to high. When the tomatoes and sauce come to boil, lower the heat to medium high and cook, stirring every minute or so, until the tomatoes break down, 8 to 10 minutes.
Puree the sauce in a blender until smooth. Or transfer the sauce to a deep bowl and puree with an immersion blender. Stir in the sherry vinegar and finish with more salt and freshly ground pepper, if you like.