How to make tomato sauce for pasta

best tomato pasta recipe

A great tomato sauce for pasta… It’s one of the holy grails of contemporary cooking.

One of the secrets of a great homemade tomato sauce is — yep, you guessed it — the quality of the tomatoes.

Today, there are so many great brands of canned and bottled tomatoes and tomato purées available across the U.S.

When you choose your brand, you want to make sure that the tomatoes are either unseasoned or lightly seasoned. This allows you to season your sauce the way you like it. Look for tomatoes that have healthy acidity (San Marzano heirloom tomatoes are arguably the best) and avoid tomatoes that are overly sweet. The number one thing that makes a tomato sauce great is the balance between sweetness, acidity, and seasoning.

Classic Tomato Sauce for pasta
serves 4-6


3 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
2 tbsp. finely chopped yellow onion or shallots
2-3 cloves garlic, peeled
28 oz. peeled tomatoes (standard can size)
½ cup Mazzoni Vermentino-Chardonnay
kosher salt
freshly cracked pepper

In a wide pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and sauté until the onion becomes translucent (this step is very important because the onion won’t fully infuse its flavor to the sauce unless it’s properly sautéed).

Add the tomatoes to the pot and once they begin to simmer, turn the flame to low, applying just enough heat to keep a gently simmer (see the video below).

Add the wine and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Simmer for 1 hour or until you achieve the desired consistency, stirring occasionally (if you’re in a hurry, you can cook over medium heat but if doing so, be sure to stir more frequently so that the sauce doesn’t burn on the bottom).

In an upcoming post, we’ll address how to “finish” the dish and what other seasonings you can use. Stay tuned and buon appetito!

3 responses

  1. Pingback: A tomato sauce secret | Live Like an Italian

  2. Pingback: Tomato sauce: the great garlic vs. onion debate | Live Like an Italian

  3. Pingback: Impress Your Date with this Calamari Recipe | Live Like an Italian

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