This Basic Tomato Sauce recipe is simple to prepare and delivers in flavor. Pair this sauce with your favorite pasta for an easy, delicious meal!
One of the first chapters of study in culinary school is all about sauces. While we will get into that in a later post, today we are going to talk about tomato sauce. This basic tomato sauce recipe may differ from what you are used to, with the addition of the soffritto. An Italian soffritto, similar to the French mirepoix, starts with onion, carrot, and celery. The Italian version, however, will often have the addition of garlic and parsley.
The presence of the cooked vegetables instills flavor and aroma to this tomato sauce recipe. While this sauce may appear more textured, as it is from the cooked vegetables, it can be pureed into the smooth sauce that many of us have become accustomed to.
This recipe is designed for the use of canned whole tomatoes, not fresh. You can certainly use fresh tomatoes, but this recipe will require some adjustments if using fresh.
- Canned Whole Tomatoes, including juices - One full 28oz can, preferably San Marzano (the king of canned tomatoes).
- Tomato Paste - The tomato paste enhances the tomato flavor while also introducing a subtle sweetness to the sauce.
- Vegetables: Yellow onion, carrot, and celery, all finely chopped.
- Fresh Garlic - Minced.
- Herbs and Seasonings: Fresh parsley, dried basil, dried oregano (optional), salt, and pepper.
- Olive Oil
Tomato sauce is rather simple to prepare and smells absolutely lovely as it is cooking.
Ultimately, the whole cooking process comes together in just a few steps.
- Sauté the onion, celery, and carrot. Add the parsley and garlic.
- Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, and seasoning.
- Simmer. Puree, if desired, and serve.
What to serve with this sauce
Serve this basic tomato sauce as is with pasta, scooped atop each serving of cooked noodles, or toss the freshly cooked pasta into the sauce. Added protein, such as ground beef, ground turkey, or prepared meatballs is a wonderful accompaniment to this basic tomato sauce recipe.
*Pro Tip: Finish the sauce with a pat of butter at the end of cooking, you can thank me later!
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, you definitely can freeze homemade tomato sauce. Allow the sauce to cool completely before transferring it to an airtight container. Freeze for up to 2 months.
The easiest method is to puree the sauce right in the pot with an immersion blender. You will, however, have smoother results by pureeing the sauce in a blender. Keep in mind that you need to be careful when using hot items in a blender.
While the vegetables in the soffrito are there to enhance the flavor, if so desired, you can omit the carrot and/or the celery from this sauce recipe.
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This basic tomato sauce is simple, flavorful, and delicious. Make a double batch ahead of time to freeze for later use. Store-bought tomato sauce is certainly convenient, but homemade is always better!
Basic Tomato Sauce
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 small yellow onion finely chopped
- 1 small carrot peeled and finely chopped
- 1 small stalk celery finely chopped
- 1 tbsp fresh parsley chopped
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 28oz can whole tomatoes including their juices
- 2 tsp tomato paste
- ½ tsp dried basil
- ½ tsp dried oregano optional
- salt and pepper to taste
- Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the chopped onion, celery, and carrot. Sauté for about 5 to 7 minutes, until vegetables begin to tenderize. Reduce the heat to low, stir in the parsley and minced garlic. Cook until the vegetables have softened, about 10 to 15 minutes more.
- Add the whole tomatoes and their juices, crushing them with your hands as you add them into the pot or break with the side of a wooden spoon in the pot. Stir in the tomato paste, dried basil, and dried oregano (if using). Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Reduce the heat to low. Allow the sauce to simmer for about 20 minutes, uncovered. Cook until the sauce has thickened.
- Puree with an immersion blender, if desired. Serve immediately.
- Optional: Add a pat of butter at the end of cooking.
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