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Basic Tomato Sauce

Tomato Sauce
Colman Andrews

Tomato Sauce

A good tomato sauce is an essential component of any cook’s recipe repertoire. Throw this sauce over pasta or use it for a more complicated recipe requiring tomato sauce.

Deliver Ingredients
3 cups (sauce for 1 pound of pasta)


  • 4-6 very ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped, or one 28–ounce can San Marzano tomatoes, drained and chopped
  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon fresh oregano leaves
  • 6-8 large fresh basil leaves, julienned
  • 1 small onion, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste (optional)
  • Salt and pepper


In a medium saucepan, add the tomatoes, two tablespoons of oil, oregano, and basil, and bring to a boil, uncovered, over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pan, and simmer for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, in another medium saucepan, heat the remaining oil over medium-low heat. Then add the onion and garlic, and cook, stirring frequently, for 6–8 minutes.

Put the tomatoes through a food mill or small-holed colander to remove any remaining seeds and skin, and then add to the onion mixture. Stir in the tomato paste (if using), season to taste with salt and pepper, and then reduce the heat to low and cook, uncovered, for about 20 minutes more, stirring occasionally.

Tomato Sauce Shopping Tip

Italian food is about simplicity and letting the ingredients shine. So make sure you get ingredients that are great quality and flavor. Farmers markets and specialty stores will have great produce and products. Just be sure to have some great olive oil.

Tomato Sauce Cooking Tip

Unlike other highly regarded cuisines, Italian cooking is usually simple to make with many dishes having only 4 to 8 ingredients. Italian cooks rely chiefly on the quality of the ingredients rather than on elaborate preparation.