Everyone needs an easy and basic tomato sauce recipe that can be tasty enough to be used alone over pasta yet simple enough that it can be incorporated with other ingredients in a more complex dish. This is an easy recipe that can be done in 30 minutes if you are rushed, but best if cooked for a longer time – 45 minutes to 1 hour.
This sauce can also be used as a base for tomato soup – just add more basil and a little more water (and omit the butter at the end). This recipe also freezes well. I usually make a larger batch and freeze several containers so I always have homemade tomato sauce.
A note about the tomato base
Using fresh tomatoes of course is the ideal base for a homemade tomato sauce, but since the best tomatoes are seasonal, I usually use tomato passata (which is Italian tomato purée) for my sauce. Passata is uncooked, crushed and sieved tomatoes with no seasonings as you may find in store-bought tomato sauce. You can use canned tomatoes as long as you buy from a brand that is organic and free of the chemical BPA (bisphenol-A).
Easy Homemade Tomato Sauce
Prep time: 5-10 minutes
Cook time: 45 minutes – 1 hour (can be done in 30 minutes)
- 2 jars of organic tomato passata/purée (approximately 24-oz/680g each jar)
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 2-3 large carrots, chopped (sweetens the sauce and turns it orange)
- 1-2 celery stalks, chopped
- 3 garlic cloves (more if you prefer)
- Bunch of fresh basil
- Pinch of dried oregano
- Pinch of dried rosemary, optional
- Bay leaf, optional (not to be blended)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Olive oil
- 1-2 TBL (14-28g) Butter, optional
- Chop onion, carrots, celery and garlic, reserve. Note: if you want to spend less time cooking the sauce, be sure to chop the carrots and celery into smaller pieces.
- Using a tall pot, sauté onions, carrots and celery in a few tablespoons of olive oil in low to medium heat until onions are translucent, but not burned. Add garlic and continue stirring until garlic is light golden in color (be careful not to overcook garlic or it will make the sauce bitter).
- Add the tomato passata and measure 1 of the jars with filtered or spring water.
- Add salt and pepper, and dried seasonings if desired (oregano, rosemary and bay leaf). Bring the sauce to a boil then simmer (covered but not completely) for at least 45 minutes, best for 1 hour (the longer it is cooked, the better it will taste). Stir frequently. If you want to make the sauce in 30 minutes, you will need to let the sauce cook in medium to medium-high heat, but will need to stir more frequently. Cook until carrots and celery are soft enough to be blended. You can also leave the pan uncovered to cook down the water faster, but will need to stir frequently and keep an eye on the sauce not to splatter all over your stove.
- Remove the bay leaf if using, and add fresh basil leaves. Using an immersion blender, blend all ingredients (do not blend bay leaf). If you don’t have an immersion blender, transfer all the ingredients in batches to a kitchen blender (leave the small top off the cover to let out the hot steam while blending). Transfer back to the pan.
- Season with more salt and pepper, if needed, and add butter. At this point you may cook the sauce for a longer period of time if desired. The butter adds richness to the sauce and helps balance out the acidity (taste-wise) of the tomato, another little trick is also to add a teaspoon of sugar – but cooking it for a long time also helps.
- It is now ready to be served. Wait until sauce is completely cooled before storing in the refrigerator or freezer.
I hope you enjoy making this easy tomato sauce and use it in many of your favorite recipes!