As the tomato season comes to a close, the flavour and goodness are at their most intense and this is the moment to capture that and preserve it for the long winter ahead.

Sugo is, of course, an Italian staple and when you make it yourself it is a world apart from the shop-bought equivalent. The recipe is extremely straight-forward, it just requires a little time. Typically, we set aside a whole day for this.

Once made, you can use your sugo in a variety of ways — a quick pasta or gnocchi al pomodoro, a brilliant time saver to make a delicious ragu, the perfect addition to melanzane alla parmigiana … the list goes on. We are grateful for this sauce time and again throughout the winter and into the spring.

We make enough to get us (and guests) through the winter, so you may wish to scale the quantities according to your needs.

Makes around 25-30 jars (300g) of sugo

10kg Ripe, organic tomatoes (small tomatoes such as datterini make a sweeter sauce)
3kg Soffrito (an even mix of finely chopped white onions, carrots, celery)
1 tbsp White sugar
Salt and pepper to season
Montecalvi Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Sautee the sofrito for around 7-8 minutes in Montecalvi olive oil until the onions are clear, adding a pinch of salt to help the onions keep from browning too quickly. Then add the tomatoes and a decent amount of seasoning, keeping the heat relatively low to allow a gradual cooking process to begin. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Then remove the lid and add the sugar, stirring well, and simmer for a further 30-45 minutes until the tomatoes are giving way.

At this point, we put the whole sugo through the mouli. It is a slow process but it’s really worth the investment to have a smooth sauce with no skins or seeds. Bring back to the heat and reduce until the consistency is perfect to coat pasta.

Meanwhile, ensure your jars are perfectly clean and sterilised (if you’re new to this, here is how). Fill the jars with warm sugo and seal immediately. Then turn the jars on to their sides and cover for a few days to create the necessary vacuum. You can then return your jars to the upright position and store for up to a year.

Pretty much any dish with a sugo base works perfectly with our Chianti Classico 2019.