Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until just undercooked; reserve 2 cups of pasta water before draining. Drain the pasta and set aside.
Heat the oil on medium heat in a large, non-stick frying pan.
Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds to a minute (you just want it fragrant)
Add the tomatoes and season well with salt and add the pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until some of the tomatoes burst and release their juices to form a sauce, 6–8 minutes.
Remove from heat and, using a large slotted spoon, scoop out one or two spoonful of the whole tomatoes and set aside.
Add the remaining tomato mixture to a blender or food processor and puree until smooth (after pureeing if there is too much skin or seeds to your liking, you can strain the sauce at this point into a bowl).
Return the mixture to the pan with the whole tomatoes you set aside. Cook over medium heat and bring to a boil and then cook for 3-5 minutes to reduce the sauce and thicken to desired consistency. Add the basil, taste for seasoning and add salt as needed. If the sauce tastes high in acid, you can add the sugar at this point.
Add the pasta to the pan to finish cooking in the sauce. Add the pasta water to loosen as needed.
If the sauce tastes high in acid, you can sugar at the end and then cook for 3-5 minutes on low heat just to dissolve the sugar.
This recipe can be made ahead and refrigerated for two days.
You can add any herbs of your choice, such as basil, parsley, or oregano. If you don’t have fresh herbs you can add dried.
Baking soda neutralizes acidity. To save bitter tomato sauce, add a pinch of baking soda at a time (tasting in between) until the acidity disappears.