Salsa di Pomodori Secchi = Sun-Dried Tomato Sauce

Recipes from Paradise by Fred Plotkin

This sauce is a legacy of the time when tomatoes were dried to be used in the winter months. It is delicious on pasta or on toasted bread. It also is great as a condiment with meat, fish, vegetables, or cheese. It is also easy to make, especially if you have sun-dried tomatoes that are packed in olive oil. Note that if the tomatoes are not packed in oil, you should soak them in warm water for at least two hours to soften them and then add some olive oil to the sauce. A mortar and pestle are the preferred tools, although a blender is acceptable. I provide the ingredient list, but leave the amounts and proportions to your imagination. Some people like intense tomato flavor, while others prefer other palpable flavors — salt, garlic, lemon, nuts, and oil. 


Coarse sea salt (used in moderation)
Garlic (optional)
Sun-dried tomatoes packed in olive oil
Juice of fresh lemon (optional, and used in moderation)
Pinoli (pine nuts)
Ligurian extravirgin olive oil (especially if your tomatoes are not oil-packed)


  1. If using a mortar and pestle, separate the tomatoes from the oil. 
  2. First pound the salt and optional garlic. Then add the tomatoes and pound them, taking care not to splash yourself with oil that might squirt out of the mortar. Add some optional lemon juice for flavor and then add pinoli (do not crush them). Finally add the oil the tomatoes were packed in (or fresh oil if you prefer), but just enough make the sauce velvety rather than oily.
  3. If you are using a blender, combine the salt, garlic, tomatoes, and lemon juice and blend at high speed for about 1 minute. Then remove the contents to a bowl, add the pinoli  and enough oil to make the sauce velvety (you will probably use a little less oil in this case than if you used the mortar and pestle).