Homemade Tomato Sauce

As requested, a recipe for delicious, fresh, homemade tomato sauce.

If there’s one thing an Italian child is raised on, it’s tomatoes. Italians are obsessed with tomatoes. I’ve even seen it go as far as a dinner conversation centered around the different kinds of tomatoes and their individuals uses – for a whole hour! Anyways, their obsession led to tomato sauce, which is something I think many of us could not live without. They’ve perfected it into one of the world’s best comfort foods, and it’s also pretty easy to make. I’ve taken tips from various individuals and come up with my own personal recipe. There’s nothing like homemade tomato sauce, so enjoy :)


1 – 28oz Can of Whole Peeled Tomatoes

1 – 6oz Can of Tomato Paste

2 Extra Large Garlic Cloves (minced)

Approx 10 Basil Leaves (ripped into thirds)

2 Tbsp Olive Oil

1 Tsp Dried Oregano

10 Cherry Tomatoes

½ Cup 2% Milk

Salt and Pepper to taste

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Place olive oil, garlic, and half of your basil into a sauce pan to sauté


Once your garlic is browned, lower the heat as low as it will go, add in tomato paste and whole peeled tomatoes (it’s important to lower the heat A LOT so that it doesn’t explode all over you when you pour in the peeled tomatoes). Sprinkle with oregano, add remaining basil, and stir.


Turn the heat up to about a medium flame. Once it starts boiling, lower heat and let simmer for about 25 minutes. Be sure to stir every 5-10minutes.


While the tomato sauce is thickening you’ll want to peel the skins off of your cherry tomatoes. After you’ve peeled them, quarter each one.

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Once the sauce is almost to the desired consistency, put water on to boil for your pasta. As you do this, add the cherry tomatoes into the mixture so they have about 5-10 minutes of simmer time. Once you’re ready to throw in the pasta, turn off the sauce’s burner, and slowly stir in milk. Let sit until pasta is ready.


Drizzle over or mix into pasta.


Free People’s Guide to Venice – Part 2

Here is part two of the Free People Guide to Venice, put together by our producer! Read on for our tips on where to eat and more of our favorite things about Venice, and if you missed it be sure to check out part one of the guide featuring where to stay, landmarks, gondola riding tips and more fun stuff!

It’s always my goal when arriving in a new city to find the best local joints. Venice is a hard city to get to know due to its “tourist-y” nature, but all it takes is a little wander away from San Marco and the Rialto (make sure you see those too!) to get to know the real Venice.

It was recommended by a friend of a friend to eat at Alle Vedova – we didn’t end up finding it until our last night, but I think I can speak for all of us in saying that we wish we had made it there sooner! After a week of sub-par and expensive Italian food we found just what we were craving at Alle Vedova.

I think that it was more the experience than the food itself, though tables of  fresh squid, local veggies and homemade pasta weren’t so bad! Alle Vedova is settled in at the end of a small dark alley, but the rumble of local chatter makes it clear when you are headed in the right direction! Once you put your name in they give you small glasses of red or white wine for while you wait and homemade meatballs to tide you over until your table is ready. One of my favorite touches was the napkin lampshades! What a sweet idea!

Its spritz o’clock!

It seems to be a Venetian tradition to take a break in the middle of the day for a Spritz. I think it’s the most beautifully colored cocktail I’ve ever seen and it is the perfect drink for a hot summers day.

Here is how to make it for yourself …

1/3 white wine (ideally prosecco)

1/3 aperol or bitters or select (pick your favorite!)

1/3 seltzer water

Throw in an olive; find some sunshine and lounge by a canal… you’ll blend right in with the locals!


I’m not sure even where to begin talking about gelato! I think that a few of us ate it breakfast lunch and dinner during our long shoot days. Our local producer claimed that Gelati Nico was her favorite in Venice, and though I agree that it was delicious I believe that gelato is heaven anywhere you eat it in Italy, it may just be a matter of price … more expensive does not equal better in this case!

I’m sure a lot of you are wondering what the difference is between gelato and ice cream and I am here to tell you that they are not at all the same thing. The ingredients are similar but the process of making it, the ratio of ingredients in it and the temperature at which it is served are completely different. It is smoother, tastes creamier and I am happy to tell you has less fat then ice cream.

… it’s making my mouth water just thinking about it now!





Oh boy… every little detail makes me smile… and the color combinations are inspiring to say the least <3


Venice kills me with its rich color combinations and patterns … for a city that is known for its decay, it has the richest detail elements! Look at these samples from the home that we shot in… All of these patterns were found in the living room alone!  Just thinking about it makes my heart melt a little.



These shoes aren’t mine but I sure do wish they were! They are the perfect flat shoe… casual and dressy and oh so comfortable.  I can’t wait for them to come out in the catalog so I can snatch up a pair for myself!


Venice comes alive at night, and I recommend to everyone that you go out and enjoy it! We often worked late which meant that we didn’t eat until around 10 or so which seemed to be the norm at most of the places we ate.  After our meal we often opted to wander back to the hotel instead of taking a water taxi and we saw the most beautiful things along the way!


Our last night in Venice was my favorite.  We combined all of my favorite things into one last hurrah! We ate great food at Alle Vedova, had fun drinks at Bar Paradiso Perduto (Cannaregio 2540, Venice), played dice along the canal, met up with old friends, made some new ones, wandered endlessly and laughed even more so… certainly a night to remember and how I recommend ending every trip! Well, think of it this way… a late night before the flight home helps you sleep on the plane :)


We hope you enjoyed our guide to Venice! If you’d like, visit our flickr page and download the whole thing. Ciao, Venice!

*All photos by Thomas Northcut except for pages: “All about the details,” “Patterns” and “Shoes I Love”.