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Artichoke and Caper Tomato Sauce

February 3, 2010


When I was little I was a very picky eater and refused anything with  chunks (or texture of any sort.) My father would beg me to try chunky sauce, claiming the tomatoes tasted like candy. Now, I’m a tomato sauce fiend. I bowls of it, and the chunkier the better. The tomatoes in this recipe truly taste like candy, and it is delicious on pasta, pizza or spaghetti squash.

The artichokes add a distinct, rich flavor to the sauce and the capers add a bright, salty note.


Now my dad can’t keep me away from the sauce!

  • 1 medium carrot, grated finely
  • 1/2 medium onion, grated finely
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 sprigs of thyme
  • 1 sprig of rosemary
  • 3 tbsp fresh chopped oregano
  • 15 oz can (8.5 oz dry weight) artichoke hearts, quartered
  • 2 tbsp capers
  • 1 tbsp caper brine
  • 14 oz can diced fire roasted tomatoes
  • 24 oz can stewed tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup chicken or vegetable stock, low or no sodium
  • salt and black pepper

In a large sauté pan, heat the olive oil then add the gated carrot and onion and minced carrot. Cook over medium heat for 5 minutes then add the bay leaves and garlic. Continue cooking for 2 minutes.

Add the tomato paste and stir over medium heat until the paste mixture turns a dark red/maroon color. Add mustard, thyme, artichokes, capers, brine and both tomatoes (crush stewed tomatoes with hands, if desired).

Stir together and reduce the heat to low. Add black pepper, stock  and rosemary then cover and simmer for 25 minutes, stirring every 5-10 minutes.

Remove rosemary, bay leaves and bare thyme sprigs. Stir in oregano and additional salt or pepper to taste.

Serve over whole wheat fettuccini. (Other options: spaghetti squash, lasagna, or pizza. Add a strip or two of parmesan or sprinkle with nutritional yeast.)


Grate carrot


Add onion


Add tomato paste


Note the dark red color of the paste in the right side of the photo.


The sauce will be thick


After cooking for 25 minutes


The artichoke hearts break apart and disperse through the sauce.


This was my first time trying spaghetti squash. It was good!

(When we had this the second night, I served it over whole wheat linguine and I enjoyed that more. The squash was a little sweet coupled with the sweetness of the sauce.)IMG_0289    



  • Next time I make this, I’ll be serving it over grilled calamari rings. The flavors would go beautifully with calamari, clams, muscles, or scallops.
19 Comments leave one →
  1. February 3, 2010 1:14 am

    I love adding artichokes to tomato sauce- this recipe is more inventive than what I make though.. Looks fantastic!

  2. February 3, 2010 1:26 am

    This is so unique! I really love artichokes so I am sure I would live it.

  3. February 3, 2010 1:39 am

    yum! i could definitely see this going well with grilled calamari. actually spaghetti squash + calamari would be great, too!

  4. February 3, 2010 1:52 am

    You and your dad look so cute! You are so little and he is so tall compared to you 🙂
    I fail — I buy spaghetti sauce 🙂

  5. February 3, 2010 2:37 am

    Looks great. Capers are so underrated, and I love ’em. Your parents must feel so blessed to have such a helpful daughter!

  6. February 3, 2010 4:04 am

    This looks amazing – I love tomatoes and have to try it!

  7. February 3, 2010 4:35 am

    I can’t believe you’re in high school and you can already cook like this. I didn’t really start cooking until…oh, THIS YEAR. And I’m 25.

  8. February 3, 2010 5:07 am

    tomato sauce = my true love (besides nut butters)
    chunky tomato sauce is the best totally agree with you. sounds great!!

  9. February 3, 2010 5:25 am

    What an absolutely gorgeous sounding sauce!! It sounds incredible!! You are so talented, Mae!! 🙂

  10. February 3, 2010 6:02 am

    I heart spaghetti squash!

  11. February 3, 2010 7:22 am

    I love this recipe! Thanks for posting it. I also love spaghetti squash, just had some the other night!

  12. February 3, 2010 7:27 am

    Aw you and your Dad look so cute cooking together!

  13. February 3, 2010 8:05 am

    This looks delicious!

  14. February 3, 2010 9:14 am

    Oh yum… I love tomato sauce and the chunkier the better 🙂 I used to hate chunky things too. I also used to hate the texture of beans and peas… things change as you get older.

  15. February 3, 2010 10:02 am

    I use to hate chunky sauce when I was a kid…all those veggies…yuck! But now I love my chunks especially with spaghetti squash. I’m going to have to try this sauce recipe 🙂

    Some other yummy ways with spaghetti squash: add black beans, onions, mushrooms, and salsa or feta, balsamic vinegar, and tomatoes.

  16. February 3, 2010 10:25 am

    Capers are so delicious in tomato sauce. Especially chunky sauce! Great recipe!

  17. February 3, 2010 11:44 am

    Cool ~I love all the pics of the recipe stage by stage~ Nom!

  18. February 3, 2010 6:55 pm

    OMG yum!! Jeff would hate this! More for me!

  19. February 6, 2010 7:37 pm

    Love spaghetti squash!!

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