Julia Child’s Provençale Tomato Sauce

, French
Spread the love

This is an under-the-radar basic from Julia Child’s “Mastering the Art of French Cooking,” featured in a New York Times article about readers’ favorite Child recipes. It is a tomato sauce with onions, garlic and basil, raised high with a perfumed whiff of orange peel and coriander seed. Make it when the farmers’ market is overflowing with good tomatoes, freeze it in plastic bags, and use it until there is no more. It is a combination of two things Mrs. Child loved: good technique and fresh Provençal flavors. It is a great recipe.


  • ¼

    cup olive oil

  • cup finely minced yellow onions

  • Kosher salt and black pepper

  • 4

    teaspoons all-purpose flour

  • 5 to 6

    pounds ripe tomatoes, quartered

  • teaspoon sugar, plus more to taste

  • 4

    cloves garlic, minced or put through a press

  • A large herb bouquet: 8 sprigs parsley, 1 bay leaf and 4 sprigs thyme, all tied in cheesecloth

  • ¼

    teaspoon fennel seeds

  • ½

    teaspoon dried basil, oregano, marjoram or savory

  • Large pinch saffron threads

  • 1

    dozen coriander seeds, lightly crushed

  • 1

    2-inch piece dried orange peel (or 1/2 teaspoon granules)

  • 2 to 3

    tablespoons tomato paste (optional)

  • Nutritional Information
    • Nutritional analysis per serving (6 servings)

      186 calories; 10 grams fat; 1 gram saturated fat; 7 grams monounsaturated fat; 1 gram polyunsaturated fat; 23 grams carbohydrates; 7 grams dietary fiber; 11 grams sugars; 4 grams protein; 1051 milligrams sodium

    • Note:

      The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
      Powered by Edamam


  1. In a large heavy pot, heat the oil over medium-low heat. Add the onions, sprinkle with salt and cook slowly for about 10 minutes, until tender but not browned. Sprinkle on the flour and cook slowly for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally; do not brown.
  2. Meanwhile, fit a food processor with the coarse grating blade. Working in batches to avoid overfilling the machine, push the tomatoes through the feed tube to make a coarse purée.
  3. Stir the tomatoes, sugar, garlic, herb bouquet, fennel, basil, saffron, coriander, orange peel and 1 teaspoon salt into the pot. Cover and cook slowly for 10 minutes, so the tomatoes will render more of their juice. Then uncover and simmer for about an hour, until thick. The sauce is done when it tastes thoroughly cooked and is thick enough to form a mass in the spoon. Remove herb bouquet and taste. Season with salt, pepper, sugar and tomato paste, and simmer two minutes more.
    The sauce may be used immediately, refrigerated or frozen for up to 6 months.
Like this recipe?

Save To Recipe Box

Add to a collection

Print this recipe

Leave a Reply