Learning to make the perfect tomato sauce is high on the list of priorities for every Italian, or anyone wanting to make delicious Italian meals. Reason being, the sauce literally goes with anything, although it’s mostly paired with pasta.
The best part about Italian sauces is that they are highly versatile, and can be used for numerous dishes. Various ways in which you can use your tomato sauce include in zucchini lasagna, chicken parmesan, homemade meat sauce, meatza among many others.
If you are a vegan, look no further. This sauce will bring back the flavour to your pasta, and you will hardly think about how much you might be missing out on cheese.
There are two ways you can make authentic Italian tomato sauce. One involves using fresh tomatoes, and the other one calls for canned tomatoes. Either way, nothing beats this homemade pasta sauce, which you can also make from scratch right in your own home.
It calls for overly simple ingredients that you already have in your pantry, and is quite easy to make. Your pastas don’t have to be bland anymore, as the sauce adds a certain kick to any meal.
When using fresh tomatoes, it’s crucial that you know how to peel them like a pro, since so many of us struggle at this step. The simplest way involves cutting a tiny X on top of each tomato. Add your tomatoes into boiling water for about 10 seconds, then transfer them into an ice bath. The skin will peel right off.
Keep in mind that ½ of your carrot should be grated with the other half left whole, to be added towards the end of the cooking and later removed. The carrot helps absorb the acidity of the sauce and gives you a much sweeter sauce. This is also the reason why you can leave out honey and still get the same sweet tomato sauce flavour.
You can use more garlic if you desire, to enhance the flavour of the soup. If you cannot get fresh thyme leaves, opt for ½ a teaspoon of dried thyme. To use dried oregano or parsley, add about 1 teaspoon to the sauce. Moreover, if you are not a fan of sweet sauces, leave out the honey. You can either serve your sauce immediately or refrigerate for later use.
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 2 hours
Total time: 2 hours 15 minutes
- Fresh tomatoes, peeled and seeded – 6 lb
- Olive oil, extra virgin – ¼ cup
- Medium onions, well diced – 3 ½
- Large carrot, divided – 1
- Honey, pure – 1 tablespoon
- Fresh garlic, finely minced – 10 cloves
- Basil leaves, well rinsed and chopped – 1/3 cup
- Thyme leaves, fresh – 1 sprig
- Parsley, fresh – 2 sprigs
- Oregano, fresh – 1 sprig
- Bay leaves , well rinsed– 2
- Sea salt – 1 teaspoon
- Black pepper, freshly ground – ¼ teaspoon
- Start by adding your extra virgin olive oil to a large heavy-bottomed saucepan
- Heat over medium heat for a few seconds
- Stir in your diced onions, grated carrots and your garlic, which should be finely diced
- Sauté for about 6-8 minutes or until your onions are tender and translucent
- Stir in the peeled tomatoes, basil, oregano, parsley, thyme, salt and bay leaves
- Reduce heat to low and allow sauce to simmer for about 2-3 hours or until it starts to thicken and darken
- Add the remaining carrot 30 minutes before you turn off the heat
- Take out the carrot and the herbs, including the bay leaves and remove pan from heat
- If your sauce is too thick, transfer to an immersion blender and puree on high until you achieve a smooth consistency. However, skip this step if you prefer thicker sauces
- Serve over your favorite sides and enjoy
If you are thinking that 2 hours is a long time to make tomato sauce, why not substitute fresh tomatoes for canned ones? This will cut down on the overall time to a whopping 10 minutes, and your tomato sauce will taste just as good.
Italians prefer canning their own tomatoes. However, you can use store bought canned tomatoes if you have not mastered the skill on how to can tomatoes on your own.
This alternative recipe is ideal if you are craving an Italian sauce but don’t have much time to spare in the kitchen. You will basically use the same ingredients as before, save for the fresh tomatoes, which are substituted with two 28oz cans of stewed or crushed tomatoes.
Additionally, add in 6 ounces of tomato paste to thicken the sauce. Another notable difference between the two methods, is that for this one, you only need to simmer for about 10-15 minutes, which allows all the flavours to come together. You can now serve and enjoy over your favorite meals.
We recommend making a large batch of the tomato sauce and canning it especially during tomato season. This is specifically if you made the sauce from fresh tomatoes. Otherwise, there is no reason to can the sauce from canned tomatoes, since it’s quite easy to make whenever you need.
Not a fan of canned goods? You can as well as freeze your homemade tomato sauce. Only opt for mason jars or metal containers, and always wait until your sauce has completely cooled down to freeze it.
Italians would rather mix the tomato sauce with the pasta then serve, instead of first plating the pasta in a bowl then adding the sauce on top. Either way you decide to have your sauce, you are in for a treat! Let us know how yours turned out in the comments section below.