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Fresh Tomato Sauce for Pasta recipe

Fresh Tomato Sauce for Pasta recipe

  • Recipes
  • Dish type
  • Side dish
  • Sauce

This sauce is made from scratch, using fresh tomatoes and not tinned. Serve over freshly cooked pasta.

317 people made this

IngredientsServes: 6

  • 10 ripe tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 30g butter
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 4 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried Italian herbs
  • 4 tablespoons Burgundy wine
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 sticks celery
  • 2 tablespoons tomato puree

MethodPrep:30min ›Cook:4hr ›Ready in:4hr30min

  1. Bring a pot of water to the boil. Have ready a large bowl of iced water. Plunge whole tomatoes in boiling water until skin starts to peel, 1 minute. Remove with slotted spoon and place in ice bath. Let rest until cool enough to handle, then remove peel and squeeze out seeds. Chop 8 tomatoes and puree in liquidiser or food processor. Chop remaining two tomatoes and set aside.
  2. In a large pot over medium heat, cook onion, pepper, carrot and garlic in oil and butter until onion starts to soften, 5 minutes. Pour in pureed tomatoes. Stir in chopped tomatoes, basil, dried Italian herbs and wine. Place bay leaf and whole celery stalks in pot. Bring to the boil, then reduce heat to low, cover and simmer 2 hours. Stir in tomato puree and simmer an additional 2 hours. Discard bay leaf and celery and serve.

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Reviews & ratingsAverage global rating:(312)

Reviews in English (250)

great recipe used it today in a slow cooker with chicken drumsticks was fab!!!-09 Apr 2013

by Patricia

This was a good recipe, I found it too bland for my taste, so I added at the 2hour cooking point about 1 teaspoon of salt, 1/2 teaspoon of pepper, 1/2 teaspoon of Oregano and 1/2 teaspoon of thyme. Also after the first 2 hours of cooking it covered, I let it cook uncovered to reduce it, making it thicker and more flavorful. I will make again with the additions.-13 Sep 2002

by gaochinwen

This was my very first time making tomato sauce from scratch. We have a bumper crop of Roma tomatoes this year, more than we know what to do with so I decided to try out this recipe and hopefully freeze off the extra sauce for the winter months.It was fantastic! Only I can see why some folks might be having problems with this recipe, the recipe says "10 Tomatoes' but does not specify how large the tomatoes should be. For all practical purposes, it should say "10 large Tomatoes" because the size and the amount of the other ingredients DOES make a difference! Having said that, I quadrupled this recipe (using the portion converter) since I had 40 very medium Roma tomatoes, cut down on the amount of peppers and carrots, I used chopped baby carrots too since that made it much easier to cut into small pieces. I also threw in 2 dried red chillies (you can get them from the Indian grocery) along with the bay leaves and celery stalks while the whole thing simmered, in order to give it a bit of a kick. I also replaced the Italian spices with fresh thyme and oregano like other posters had recommended. It was superb!It freezes well too and can easily be warmed up and be added with either cooked ground veal or pieces of Italian sausage for a non-vegetarian sauce for later on.-13 Aug 2007


You can use any type of tomato to make tomato sauce, but your sauce will come together faster and easier if you use paste tomatoes. They have less water content and fewer seeds. But there are other types of tomatoes you can use.

The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

Start by plunging your tomatoes into boiling water for 1 to 2 minutes. This will loosen their skins, so they're much easier to remove later. Then, rinse the tomatoes in cool water to stop the cooking process, and set them aside to cool and drain.


Ingredients

  • 10 pounds (4.5kg) ripe plum tomatoes, preferably mixed varieties (such as Romas, Amish Pastes, and San Marzanos), cut into large chunks, plus 15 pounds (6.8kg) ripe mixed tomatoes, mostly plums with a small portion of other tomatoes (such as beefsteaks), cut into large chunks
  • 3 tablespoons (45ml) extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for greasing
  • 1 large yellow onion, minced (see note)
  • 3 medium cloves garlic, minced (see note)
  • 2 large sprigs fresh basil
  • 1 small tomato plant cutting with about 5 leaves (optional)
  • Kosher salt

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Summertime Spaghetti with Fresh Tomato Sauce

“What do you do for a living?” they ask. I never know how my response will go over or which questions will follow. Most often, the questions are, “How did you get into that?” and, “where do you get your recipes?” On a recent flight, I got a bold, “How do you make money doing that?!” from my seat mate. All fine questions, mind you.

I never have a good answer to the recipe source question. Typically, the recipes are a composite of ideas from restaurant meals, magazines, other blogs, cookbooks and suggestions from friends and readers. Sometimes I wake up with ideas sometimes they pop into my head when I open my refrigerator sometimes they come to me when I’m deep in conversation during happy hour. I always try my best to give credit where credit is due.

Today’s recipe is more straightforward—it’s from an old issue of Gourmet Magazine that I’ve been wanting to try forever, courtesy of a special edition from Bon Appetit… cross-referenced with America’s Test Kitchen’s vegetarian cookbook and fiddled with to meet my expectations. That’s pretty straightforward for me these days.

I finally got a chance to try it when I came across some big, juicy, local tomatoes at Whole Foods. I knew just what to do with them and flipped open my sources when I got home. America’s Test Kitchen wanted me to chop up the tomatoes and let them marinate for up to three hours, but I was hungry-bordering-on-hangry, and a three-hour wait wouldn’t do.

Gourmet’s version suggested grating a portion of the tomatoes to get some nice and juicy pulp, then letting the mixture marinate for 10 minutes. Much better! I mixed up the sauce and let it rest while I brought a pot of water to boil and cooked my pasta. Both sources suggested simply tossing the raw tomato sauce with hot cooked pasta, but I thought it was a little too raw in that state, a little too what’s-pico-de-gallo-doing-in-my-pasta, if you will.

I wasn’t sure the pasta was blog-worthy until I tried my reheated leftovers. They were amazing. I took that as inspiration and tried just barely cooking the fresh tomato sauce while tossing the pasta with a little bit of starchy cooking water. That was just the ticket—the tomatoes benefit from a little warmth, and the starchy cooking water turns the raw tomato runoff into a sauce that lightly coats the spaghetti.

Granted, this recipe’s flavor will be almost entirely dependent upon the tomatoes you use, so pick some good ones. You want ripe, almost over-ripe tomatoes. You can, of course, skip my suggestion to warm up the sauce and just toss it with warm pasta for Italian-flavored tomato pasta.

I always use whole grain pasta for more protein and fiber, and DeLallo’s 100 percent whole wheat pastas manage to do so without sacrificing flavor or texture. (That’s why I work with them! They’re the best!) Last but not least, I felt like Parmesan added quite a bit of personality to this dish, but check my notes for substitution suggestions. Let’s hear it for ripe summer tomatoes!


How to Make Tomato Sauce Video

Let&rsquos talk about easy this homemade sauce is. I have amazing news for you. Are you ready?

First, you use fresh tomatoes.

Second&hellip are you really ready for this?

You don&rsquot need to blanch or peel your tomatoes for this tomato sauce! Seriously! High 5!

I really wanted to make a easy sauce. During the Summer, I want to limit my time spent stirring sauces over the hot stove and instead chase my little one around with water balloons. This sauce is simple and doesn&rsquot require any fancy blanching or peeling techniques. We&rsquore just going to use the tomatoes whole. Trust me on this one.


Classic Tomato Sauce for Pasta

Danielle Centoni is a Portland-based, James Beard Journalism Award-winning food writer and cookbook author whose idea of a perfect day always includes butter, sugar, flour, and an oven.

The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

×
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8
Amount per serving
Calories 141
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 6g 7%
Saturated Fat 1g 4%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 508mg 22%
Total Carbohydrate 22g 8%
Dietary Fiber 5g 19%
Total Sugars 12g
Protein 4g
Vitamin C 23mg 113%
Calcium 92mg 7%
Iron 3mg 18%
Potassium 752mg 16%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

Making pasta sauce from scratch is surprisingly easy. Once you try it, you'll wonder why you were so dependent on jarred pasta sauces. This recipe makes a stunning, full-bodied red sauce to star in your pasta dish. It relies on a few pantry staples, including canned tomatoes, making it quick to whip up, even on a busy weeknight.

There are as many recipes for tomato sauce as there are cooks who make it. Customizing this sauce to your taste or the meal you're planning is a snap. For instance, the tomato paste thickens the sauce and adds richness, but leaving it out creates a thinner sauce. You can also change up the seasoning to fit another recipe or add vegetables or meat for a more robust pasta main dish. One family-favorite option is to heat up some meatballs—homemade or frozen—and cook spaghetti for a simple and delicious spaghetti and meatball dinner.


  • 6 ounces whole-wheat linguine
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped red bell pepper
  • ½ cup chopped onion
  • 1 ½ cups cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 (8 ounce) can no-salt-added tomato sauce
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • ⅓ cup chopped fresh basil
  • ¼ cup finely grated Parmesan cheese

Bring a large saucepan of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook linguine for 1 minute less than directed on package. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking water.

Meanwhile, heat oil in a medium nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add bell pepper and onion cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, tomato sauce and salt. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low and cook for 5 minutes, stirring once or twice.

Stir in the linguine and the reserved cooking water. Increase heat to medium cook, uncovered, until the pasta is tender and the sauce has thickened slightly, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in basil, sprinkle with Parmesan and serve.


Suggestions for Spaghetti Sauce with Fresh Tomatoes

  • Fresh tomatoes are obviously best, but what if you don’t have fresh tomatoes on hand? What if tomatoes are out of season? Don’t worry! You can use a couple of 28 ounce cans of crushed tomatoes.
  • If you want to add some extra flavor from your garden, you can add diced red bell pepper, diced green bell pepper, and/or fresh chopped carrots. If you like a “chunky” homemade garden spaghetti sauce, just chop up any veggies you like and add them while sautéing the onions.
  • This sauce is thick, hearty and rich on its own, but you can for you meat lovers, you can add ground beef or chopped smoked sausage to the sauce.
  • To thicken your sauce, slow and steady is your ticket. Last time I made this I had it simmering for 8 hours (uncovered, stirring occasionally). Trust me, the longer you can let it simmer, the better! If you are finding that the water isn’t evaporating as quickly as you would like or it isn’t thickening up how you want it to there is an easy fix. Just add some tomato paste, about a tablespoon at a time, until you reach the consistency you are looking for.
  • Make a double batch of this glorious sauce and freeze it in a freezer safe Tupperware-type container, a large freezer-safe Ziploc bag or a glass jar. If you do go the glass jar route, make sure to leave an inch or two of space at the top of the jar so the sauce doesn’t expand and break. When freezing, make sure to cool the sauce completely in the fridge before freezing.The sauce will stay nice and fresh in the freezer for up to six months.

  • Spaghetti Sauce with Fresh Tomatoes will stay good in the refrigerator for about three to four days. Any longer than that, you may just want to freeze it for later.
  • You may notice that soy sauce is a key ingredient in this recipe. Trust me on this. Adding soy sauce to chopped mushrooms is an old trick that a chef in Utah taught me. When you add soy sauce to mushrooms when they are cooking it gives them a rich, meaty flavor that is unparalleled. I ALWAYS add a splash of soy sauce when I sauté mushrooms. I promise, it doesn’t make it taste weird or soy sauce-y at all. It just brings out the flavor SO much more. You have GOT to try this trick. It takes the flavor to the next level!

  • Another suggestion for Homemade Spaghetti Sauce with Fresh Tomatoes from one of our readers, Diana: “I have a suggestion for those who don’t mind the extra time it might take. I started roasting my fresh tomatoes last year for canning and wow! what a difference that made! The natural sugars come out and it also concentrates the tomato flavor. I cut them in half, remove as much of the seeds/gel as possible into a strainer with a bowl to catch the juices and then place the halves cut side down on a large cookie pan (I place parchment paper down first). Even though you remove a lot of the seeds/tomato get before roasting, you will get a lot of liquid from roasting. Save it all and strain it. Roast the tomatoes until the skins start turning color. I can’t remember what temperature I used but I believe between 350 and 400. When the skins are browned, I remove the tray from the oven and drain the liquid into the strainer with the seeds/gel. Let the tomatoes cool somewhat and remove the skin. I find it is easier to remove the skins while they are still pretty warm. You can then add the tomatoes and the strained liquid/gel to the pot and process them the way you would for sauce or canning. You have eliminated the majority of the seeds that way as well as the skin. The roasting concentrates the tomato flavor remarkably. I won’t process my tomatoes for canning any other way after tasting the difference in the final product. If using fresh tomatoes processed this way for this recipe, you may not need to add any sugar…it makes that much of a difference! Roasted Sun Golds are like candy after halving and roasting. I just half those, add chopped onion and garlic, red bell pepper, and some olive oil. Those I roast at about 325 since they are small and the skins are thin. No need to remove seeds or skins…just whiz in the food processor or using a stick blender. You can add whatever spices you want to finish the sauce off…Mexican, Italian, etc. I’m serious about that Sungold sauce…you can eat it by the spoonful after roasting! No meat or spices needed!”

Related Video

So simple. So easy. Soooo Delicious. I used 3 cloves of garlic, and only had 1.5 lbs of small tomatoes from the farmers market. but other wise followed the recipe exactly and it was so flavorful and exactly what i was craving. It literally TASTES like summer. I will totally make this again.

This is a great recipe. Made it with some fresh linguine instead of angel hair as that is what we had - and it came out wonderfully. A great way to celebrate summer (and serve a cool meal on a hot day.)

This recipe celebrates the flavor of fresh tomatoes in season. The acid in the tomato mutes the raw garlic flavor very slightly, but it is still a little sharp for me. My husband raved about it though and gave it 2 thumbs up. Grating the tomatoes eliminates the need to peel the tomatoes. The sauce is thin, so it's good to serve some fresh bread with it.

I don't usually deviate from the recipe the first time but alas ! I had a huge heirloom tomato and NO basil. I did have pesto, ziti and fresh mozerella cheese. I cut up the tomato and cheese into small pieces, sprinkled with the lemon juice, salt & pepper. I did not add sugar. Cooked the ziti, drained and added the pesto (which was cold) to the pasta. While it cooled the pasta down to warm, it made it so the cheese remained whole when I added it and tomatoes to the pasta. It was delicious. Enough left over for lunch.

Absolutely delicious! I used Mill Valley Market organic heirloom tomatoes & fresh basil from their own farm in Glen Ellen. perfect!

Excellent and flexible! Made it with a lemon/pepper linguine and added EVOO not as a drizzle, just mixed it right in. Summer in bowl.

I've been making this for years and must have forgotten to review. It's my favorite summer dish to make when tomatoes are at their peak!

This is so easy and so good. A great way to use a tomato bounty from the garden. I mostly use a tomato similar to Roma, but throw in a few others for added flavor.

My forks did not show up with my rating--it should be a 4.

Made this with tomatoes and basil at the height of the season, and it was absolutely delicious! I added a bit of extra garlic, and went a bit heavy with the basil. Served with Chicken Piccata and Lemon Lemon Loaf for dessert, and this was an excellent combination. We'll be sure to enjoy this again before the end of tomato season.

Delicious -- used heirloom tomatoes fresh from the garden. Drained the pulp before adding to the rest of the ingredients. Used 3 cloves garlic, dried basil. Didn't have a lemon, so used fresh lime juice. Added a bit of pasta water when tossing with pasta. Very easy, and a perfect way to use some of our tomato bounty! Will def make again.

Delicious, though I added more salt to the pulp soak. I also soaked the chopped basil, as the basil from my garden was pretty chewy in a different dish last night. The soak worked the basil was more tender and probably added to the percolating flavors. Now that I read others' reviews, will opt next time to strain out some of the juice and do a reduction for the pasta. First run was pretty soupy, but yummy.

Loved this! A perfect summer pasta dish. Used 2 cloves garlic and was just right, nice and garlicky but not overwhelming. Some reviewers mentioned cooking down the tomato pulp, but I really don't think that is necessary, and certainly involves more work. If your tomatoes are very juicy, like mine were from my garden, just scoop the pulp from the bowl you grate the tomatoes in and leave the juice behind. or add as much of the juice as you feel you need. A very refreshing pasta.

We love this recipe - it's perfect during the hot summer days. I always add extra garlic and lemon juice. Other than that, it's a winner!

This was so easy and so good! I used dry farmed tomatoes. Delicious! I also seared sea scallops in olive oil with just salt and pepper and put them on top. That was a real treat but the pasta would've been great alone too.

This was quite good- everybody ate everything. It tended to be a little too much juice vs pulp, so I think I will do what the next review says next time. I am glad to have served it with garlic bread because that was good to "sop" it all up. Viva la homegrown tomato!

Agree with other reviewers that this is a recipe only for exquisite in-season fresh tomatoes. If that's what you have, this is fabulous. Followed others' suggestions and added 2 extra garlic cloves. Also strained out about 3/4 cup of juice an reduced that with a smashed garlic clove & some basil. stirred the hot pasta into that, let it soak up the reduction, then put the pasta in the bowl of tomatoes. letting it sit ten minutes is key, too. Will use this every summer when the tomatoes are beatific.

This was really good made with farm stand tomatoes. I added 2 pressed garlic cloves, but otherwise followed the sauce recipe. Instead of capellini, I used Buitoni cheese tortellini. It made a ton, so there were leftovers. That allowed the pasta to soak up the tomato juice. We ate it like a pasta salad, bringing it to room temp. It was good the first night, but absolutely divine the second! Definitely a keeper for all those summertime tomatoes.

Really, this is an easy, tasty recipe. It's not tomato season here, but I used "vine ripened" from the grocery that actually smelled like tomatoes. I think that's the key, if they have a lovely tomato smell, this will work well, if not, wait for in season tomatoes. I added an extra clove of garlic for good measure. Served as a side dish with lamb chops and roasted veggies. As a side, this was very generous portions.

If you love fresh tomatoes and basil, as my husband & I do, this is an amazingly simple recipe that will titillate your gastronomical senses.

As others have mentioned, do not bother with this recipe unless you have peak of season tomatoes. That said, when you do have those perfect tomatoes, this is a showcase for their flavor. Delicious!

Heirloom fresh tomatoes out of your garden are a must for this recipe. I drained about a cup of the liquid from my tomatos and reduced it by half while my pasta was cooking. After draining the pasta I returned the hot pasta to the pan and mixed the tomato reduction into the pasta and let it rest while I tore up the fresh basil leaves. This helps get the tomato flavor into the pasta. I added half the tomato mixture and basil, drizzled with olive oil, plated from the pot and finshed the plate by dividing the rest of the sauce and basil. An extra dash of oil, and freshly grated parmesan. One of summer's BEST!! A bit of garlic bread to sop up the remaiing "sauce" is a must.

Get exceptional tomatoes in season, season well with salt and pepper, and this is one of the simplest yet most memorable pasta dishes I've ever made.

Great sauce. I made a big mistake by heating it. Before I heated it the flavors blended nicely, very fresh. My suggestion is to keep to the recipe. It's a great recipe for a 1 or 2 person quick dinner.

Excellent, excellent, excellent. I echo previous recommendations to use only the freshest, best tomatoes. I first made it with penne instead of angel-hair pasta and without the basil (what I had on hand), doubled up on the garlic (I love garlic), and had it macerate for a good hour. It was amazing---fresh, fruity, and so easy. Tonight I'm making it again but have all of the ingredients on hand and expect it to be even better.