Onion  Tomato Sauce

(“Salsa a Pic-Pac” – “Pumaroru a Picchi-Pac”)


This sauce is one of the oldest made in Palermo. To make this sauce some attention is required because when sautéing the onions they have to be constantly stirred, using a wooden spoon.
When stirring the pot with the onions, the noise made by the wooden spoon that bangs the sides of the pot sounds like pick- pack therefore it is called in Sicilian Salsa pic-pac.
The pasta that goes well with this sauce usually is the bucatino, a thick spaghetto with the hole, this sauce is also used in cooking snails and other special dishes.





  • 1 can 28 oz. peeled tomatoes
  • 6 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 large chopped onion
  • 3 cloves of garlic slightly crushed
  • A pinch of oregano
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Sugar optional 
  • ½ cup water






In a 4 quart saucepan, combine the water and onion and cook at a high heat until the water evaporates, stirring continuously. Reduce heat to medium, add olive oil and garlic, sauté stirring constantly until the onion is golden. 
Place tomatoes in a colander and drain in a large bowl; cut tomatoes in strips, remove some seeds and place into a bowl. Add salt, pepper and oregano, put mixture into the saucepan and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for an additional 15 to 20 minutes, if sauce is too tart add some sugar.
Garlic cloves can be removed before serving or let your table companions do it!
If using vine-ripened fresh tomatoes plunge them into boiling water for a minute, then in cold water. Remove skin, seeds, cut in strips and follow the above directions.