Recipe: Lena’s Chunky Tomato & Leek Sauce





  • 1/4 cup olive oil

  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes

  • Salt, to taste

  • Pepper, to taste

  • 1 large onion, diced

  • 10 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

  • 3-4 leeks, white parts only, thinly sliced

  • 18 oz cherry or grape tomatoes (1 large container or 2 small containers)

  • 1 cup white wine (or 1 mini-bottle)

  • 2 28oz cans of whole peeled tomatoes

  • 1 28oz can of tomato sauce or puree

  • 5-10 basil leaves, chopped

  • 8 oz spinach (1 regular sized package)

  • 1/2 cup heavy cream (optional)

  • Parmesan cheese for serving




1) Drizzle olive oil in a large sauté pan, pot, or dutch oven. Season oil with red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper

2) Add garlic, then onions, then leeks to the sizzling oil. Cook on medium heat until the onions are clear

3) Dump in the cherry tomatoes, reduce heat to low, and cover the pot until tomatoes have blistered. Add salt and pepper

4) Add the wine, stir, and cover until wine has reduced

5) Add in whole peeled tomatoes one by one. The harder stem section should be removed and discarded. Crush the tomato with your hand and drop it into the pot. Continue until both cans have been used. Pour in any remaining liquid from the can as well as the can of tomato puree. Add generous amounts of salt and pepper

6) Cover and simmer for 1-2 hours

7) Add chopped basil and bag of spinach, stir into the sauce. Then add the heavy cream. Taste the sauce – if it’s too acidic, add a pinch of sugar. If it’s not spicy enough for your taste, add more red pepper flakes. Add salt if needed. Always adjust!

8) Let simmer for 30-60 more minutes. Serve over pasta with grated Parmesan cheese!





  • I’m normally one for substitutes, but DO NOT substitute jarred minced garlic for fresh garlic in this recipe. Just. Do not.

  • If you can, get San Marzano tomatoes or anything imported from Italy

  • Season as you go – with every step, add a little more salt and pepper, and red pepper flakes as necessary to keep the flavors bold. Or if you hate spicy things, don’t put red pepper flakes at all!

  • Heavy cream can be subbed for non-dairy milk, or omitted completely

  • This make a LOT of sauce… freeze leftover portions in gallon Ziplock bags. When you want homemade sauce, just pop the frozen sauce into a pan and re-heat on the stove. I usually get 3-4 bags of 2 (large) servings of leftover sauce in addition to eating it fresh

  • These pair perfectly with my Sicilian style meatballs!





Looking for more recipes to drool over?

Click here for more YUM!


the latest entries


Learn more about lena

also known for the epic #lmselfie


fter 13 years in business, I've made it my mission to serve couples with the most easeful, professional, elevated, and organized wedding experience possible.

wedding expert

your new hype woman and



lm education offerings

Let's navigate:


ith 12+ years of business knowledge and experience under my belt, I’ve made it my mission to teach and empower creatives and help them navigate the varying seasons of entrepreneurship with clear direction, actionable steps, and no fluff.

The Picture Imperfect Podcast
Episode #08


Episode #11


Featured On