top of page
  • Writer's picturePasta Grammar

How to Make Authentic Italian Tomato Sauce | Simple & Easy Recipe

Updated: May 4, 2023

A basic tomato sauce, whether it’s meant for a plate of spaghetti or an eggplant parmigiana, should be very simple. High quality tomatoes don’t require a ton of added ingredients to be incredibly delicious. Skip the onion and carrot, and try this recipe using nothing more than tomatoes, olive oil, salt, basil, and a little bit of garlic. You’ll be amazed at how yummy it is!

Simple Italian Tomato Sauce Recipe | Quick, Easy & Delicious

What Kind of Tomatoes Are Best for Tomato Sauce?

You can certainly make this sauce using fresh tomatoes. If you would like to try, check out our blog post all about the process.

The sad truth, however, is that most of us (at least in North America) don’t have access to tomatoes that come even close to imported, canned tomatoes. That’s why, unless you’re very lucky and have some amazing in-season produce, we recommend using canned whole peeled tomatoes.

While San Marzano tomatoes are fantastic, you don’t need to splurge on them in order to make a great sauce. What’s important is to look for pure tomatoes. Don’t buy anything with any other added ingredients. No salt, no garlic, no basil, no citric acid. Just tomatoes. We’re making the sauce, today!

You can also use cherry tomatoes for an extra-flavorful sauce! Check out the Pasta Grammar video where we tested this hack here:


Yield: About 3 cups

Cook Time: 30-40 minutes

For this recipe, you will need:

  • 28 oz. (800g) canned whole peeled tomatoes

  • 1 whole garlic clove, peeled

  • 3-4 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

  • Fresh basil, about 3-4 leaves

  • Salt to taste

  • Pot or saucepan

  • Fork

Place the tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, and basil in a pot or saucepan over medium heat, and bring them to a gentle simmer. At this point, sprinkle some salt into the sauce, but be cautious because the sauce will thicken, and you can addd more seasoning later if needed.

Allow the whole tomatoes to cook for a few minutes until they have softened enough to be easily mashed with a fork into a pulpy texture. Next, let the sauce simmer partially covered for about 25-30 minutes, or until it thickens to your desired consistency. In case the sauce becomes too thick, feel free to add some water to thin it down and cook it for longer if necessary.

Before turning off the heat, remove the garlic clove and adjust the seasoning of the sauce to your taste by adding more salt if needed. Once the sauce has cooled down, you can store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week. Alternatively, you can freeze the sauce for longer periods of time.

Buon appetito!


Oberst Jon
Oberst Jon
Aug 12, 2023

Since I have made the sauce like this, I cannot go back to the jar stuff on the shelf.

The San Marzano makes a big difference. I used...

I made the same recipe with Hunts or Red Gold "san marzano" ...nowehere near the same.


May 13, 2023

Giving it a go since my husband likes his pasta sauce without lots of veggies in it. I am having to use Mutti canned tomatoes since that is all I have here. I will be throwing in baked chicken meatballs at the end of the cook and put it on spaghetti.


Shea Anderson
Shea Anderson
May 12, 2023

I love this SO much. I now buy fresh basil and San Marzano tomatoes (there's nothing else where I live that doesn't have citric acid in it). I'd like to sweeten it up without sugar. I've watched Vincenzo's Plate talk about a sofrito of carrots, celery, and onions. For simplicity's sake, can I just carnalize some white onion in the olive oil before I add the rest? Love you guys!


Feb 19, 2023

Thank you, thank you! This is my new go-to sauce. I haven't bought a jar of ready made sauce since I started making this.


Feb 11, 2023

Why don't you add Print tab at end of recipes so we can print them out. It would be very helpful

bottom of page