Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic, and cook stirring, until lightly browned, about 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes, their juice, and bring to a boil. Adjust the heat to maintain a simmer, and cook covered, for 10 minutes. Add the herbs and chopped fresh tomatoes, if using, and simmer for a few more minutes until fresh tomatoes are cooked through.
Remove and discard the herb sprigs. Stir in the salt and season with pepper, to taste. Use now, store covered in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, or freeze for up to 2 months.
Cook's note: For more texture add seeded chopped tomatoes at the end. Also add fresh chopped herbs for a fuller herb flavor.
Serving Suggestions: Serve this sauce over a pound dry pasta; linguini, fettuccine, spaghetti or fusilli, or, polenta, egg dishes, shellfish, or use for stews or braises. This sauce, when cooked a little longer and slightly thicker (around 2 cups), is also ideal for spreading on pizza.
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