When I first started making tomato sauce, I minced the garlic. Then, one night, a Lady People friend of mine didn’t want minced garlic, she wanted sliced garlic, so that’s what I started doing.

Then, I was making a tomato sauce for some meatballs for a restaurant in Palm Springs, Californy, where I was singing, and I thought it might be mo’ better if I used whole smashed cloves, so people could remove them more easily if they wanted.

Because, if some octagenarian was eating a meatball, and got a whole clove of garlic stuck in their choppers and had a heart attack, that might not be good for business.

So now I use whole, smashed garlic cloves when I make a tomato sauce. And you know what? It tastes better, and the fussy people can pick them out if they want.

This tomato sauce is your go-to sauce and I’ll tell you why. You need a simple sauce when you’re making manicotti, eggplant parmigiana, or pizza, things like that. You load up your tomato sauce with a ton of stuff like carrots or celery or onion or oregano and all of a sudden you got too many flavors going on when you add it to something else.

And sometimes a simple tomato sauce is great over pasta. My favorite pre-show dish is this sauce with penne rigate.

So if you come up and say hi after a Slim Show, and I’ve got the old garlic breath kicking, you’ll know why.


I’ve been using Cento Italian tomatoes, they come in a 35-ounce can. I like them because they taste great, and the cans are lined, and I’ve been hearing some weird stuff about aluminum cans these days.

Most Italian tomatoes come in 28-ounce cans. So, if you’re using 28-ounce cans, use two. I don’t think you’ll need to increase anything, there’s enough garlic here to keep vampires away for years. But if you want to add a little more garlic–or salt or basil–go ahead, Slim People!


Italian tomatoes (one 35-ounce can, or two 28-ounce cans)

8 cloves garlic

3 tablespoons olive oil

Crushed red pepper to taste (I use a ½ teaspoon)

Salt (I use coarse Kosher, about a teaspoon)

Fresh basil leaves (a bunch, a small handful)


IMG_9203Put your tomatoes in a large bowl. Smoosh them with your hands, dig in with your mitts and squeeze the tomatoes. Remove any funky-looking stuff…skin, stalks, and especially that yellow stringy stem in the center of each tomato. Smoosh until smoovy-smoov.

Take a garlic clove, smash it with the broad side of a knife. Smash it good and flat! Remove the skin.

Put the olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium-low heat, and add the crushed red pepper, let it heat up for a minute or two.

Add the smashed garlic, let it cook for a couple minutes. DON’T LET THE GARLIC BURN! It tastes nasty when it does.

When the underside turns pale gold, turn over each clove, and sauté on the other side for a couple of minutes until pale gold. PALE, Slim Folks!

Then, turn the heat to high, and add the tomatoes.

Add the salt.

Take a half-dozen basil leaves, snip them with scissors, right into the sauce.

Give it a stir.

When the sauce begins to bubble and boil, turn the heat down to low, and let it simmer for 20 minutes, stirring every couple of minutes. Be gentle, SlimNation. Gentle and kind.

After 20 minutes, take a few more basil leaves, and snip them right into the sauce with your scissors, give it a stir, and taste for salt and adjust.

There ya go! Use this sauce over pasta, or use it with manicotti, eggplant parmigiano, pizza, bruschetta, and…