This is the quintessential red pasta sauce recipe for all your pasta and pizza needs! You can store this sauce in the refrigerator for later or freeze it!
I say quintessential because everyone needs a good pasta sauce recipe. I couldn't keep this secret recipe to myself. My mum has been making red sauce this way all her life, and I love the intense flavours. Perfect for making a simple bowl of spaghetti come alive! And we are ALWAYS craving pizza. So if you have a jar of this basic pizza and pasta sauce tucked away in your fridge, life will always be simple. And so complete 🙂
This quick and easy recipe uses the freshest ingredients and has tons of flavour. It takes only 45 minutes for a really chunky, really flavorful, all-purpose basic red sauce - Instead of hours that some recipes ask you to spend!
Use The Right Tomatoes
For the best homemade pasta sauce, you must use fresh and good quality ingredients. The tomatoes must be fully ripe. I’ve used medium-sized Roma tomatoes. I recommend that you get the reddest ripest tomatoes from the market. Roma tomatoes are slender and long and have a grainier flesh. They are perfect for making purees and chunky sauces.
My recipe uses both tomato puree and roughly pureed tomatoes. A small quantity of store-bought tomato puree adds intensity and colour to the sauce.
The Seasoning & Flavours
Any basic tomato sauce will draw heaps of flavour from the seasoning added to it. Here’s a list of stuff you need to add and why:
- Dry herbs work better than fresh herbs in this recipe, and I usually add an Italian Seasoning Mix
- I love opening a bottle of extra virgin olive oil while making this sauce - like the Italians say, never compromise the olive oil 🙂
- Other basic ingredients include onion and garlic (love, love, love).
- Adding some sugar helps cut out the tang from tomatoes and balances out the flavours.
- Some people even add pepper to the olive oil for a touch of heat (although I like to add it while making the pasta)
- The sauce itself is not too salty on its own, so you can adjust the salt as you like.
And it’s just about putting it all together in a pot and allowing it to simmer!
Note: Recently, I watched a food show in which a New York-based chef said, “The authentic New York flavour of the pizza/pasta comes from adding lots and lots of oregano!” So feel free to be generous with oregano and transport yourself to the Big Apple when you bite into the pizza.
Top Tips to Use This Sauce
- Spread this on pizza as your base sauce and then top it up with veggies, meat, and some mozzarella!
- While making pasta, the key is to reserve some pasta water (in which you cooked the pasta) aside. Use the pasta water while tossing pasta in the sauce - it's my chef tip and it's how pasta at restaurants is always cooked. This adds that beautiful finish to pasta. The starch in the water emulsifies to give it that glistening, saucy finish.
- Whether it’s pizza or pasta, a healthy dose of parmesan is a must. And this sauce is so all-purpose that you won't need anything else. Except for extra cheeeeeese!
Store This Marinara Sauce For a Rainy Day
I like to make a large batch of this sauce and just store it for later use in an airtight container. It lasts for up to 5 days in the fridge and about 6 months in the freezer. Because you never know when the craving for pasta or pizza strikes! Frozen chunks of this marinara sauce have saved us so many times from picking up the phone and ordering in!
This is such an easy sauce once you add all the ingredients to the pot– just sit back and let it simmer!
Love Pasta and Pizzas? Check Out These Recipes:
- French Bread Pizza Toasts
- Keema (Spiced Minced Lamb) Pizza
- Tomato Basil Pasta
- White Sauce Pasta with Vegetables
- Creamy Sun-dried Tomato Chicken with Pasta
- Vegetarian Lasagna
Watch Pasta Sauce Recipe Video
This is an older recipe from April 2016 that has been republished with new pictures, a how to video and small improvements to the recipe
Easy Pasta Sauce
- 8 medium Tomatoes roughly diced
- 2 tablespoons Olive Oil
- 1 ½ tablespoons finely chopped Garlic
- 1 medium Onion finely chopped
- ½ cup Tomato Puree or Passata store bought
- 1 teaspoon Salt
- 2 teaspoons Italian Seasoning Mix dried
- 2 teaspoons Sugar
- Puree the fresh tomatoes in a blender and set aside.
- Heat oil in a saucepan, and add garlic. Saute for a minute on low heat till the garlic fragrant, making sure not to brown it. Add onions and saute till translucent.
- Add blended tomatoes, store bought tomato puree, italian seasoning, salt and sugar. Bring this to a bowl and simmer for 20-25 minutes till the sauce has reduced by ⅓ and thickened.
- Use the sauce to toss pasta (see video above for instructions) or refrigerate it for up to 5 days in an airtight container. You can also freeze the sauce for up to 6 months in a freezer friendly container.
- Nutrition Info: The nutrition info above are for ½ cup sauce which is enough for 2 portions
- Boiling Pasta: To cook pasta, follow the package instructions and reduce the cooking time by 30 seconds because the pasta will cook further when its tossed in the sauce. Always reserve some pasta water to toss the sauce which gives pasta a beautiful finish