How to Make Pasta Sauce

Jarred pasta sauces have come a long way, but, still, none of them hold a candle to homemade. If you've been relying on jarred stuff because you don't think you have the time or skills to learn how to make pasta sauce from scratch, you'll be pleasantly surprised by the recipe below. Since fresh tomatoes and basil are key to this classic recipe, you'll obviously get the best results during the summer months when both are in season (and hence less expensive) and at their peak flavor. But that doesn't mean you have to go without homemade pasta sauce in the winter! Both tomatoes and fresh herbs are available year-round at most grocery stores these days, so you can whip up a batch anytime. Alternatively, you can make a huge batch during summer to stock in your freezer for months when tomatoes are not in season.
Hi, I'm Miranda with, and today I'm gonna show you how to make fresh tomato sauce. Now, a good tomato sauce is at the heart of so many great meals; pizza, pasta, saute, vegetables, or soups. So, you can take advantage of the summer harvest freezing a nice batch of the sauce and you will be one step closer to a garden fresh meal. So, I have our ingredients all laid out here. Let's get started. We have 4-1/2 cups of plum tomatoes; a quarter cup of extra virgin olive oil; 3/4 cup of chopped garlic, it's about 2 heads. Then, we have 4 cups of diced onions, 1-1/2 teaspoons of salt, 1/4 cup of tomato paste, 1 teaspoon of dried oregano, 1/2 cup of red wine, 2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar, 1/2 cup of wonderfully fresh chopped basil, and then freshly ground pepper to taste. Now, we have this large pot of water over here that's been brought to a boil. So, what I'm going to do is with this paring knife I'm going to start by coring the tomatoes. So, just making a little incision at the top, I'm just going kind of pop out literally the little core, this little steamy part just like that. So, see perfect, so get that out of the way. So, as what I did to the top, now I'm gonna score the bottom. So, we're just gonna make like a little x, and we've scored the bottom. Now, in batches, I'm going to transfer my tomatoes to the boiling water and I'm going to let them boil for 30 seconds to 2 minutes or until the skins have loosened. Okay, so my skins have loosened. I can start taking them out. I'm gonna use a slot spoon, so you can see how the skin has split. This is going to make peeling this abreast. So, I'm just going to give this a little ice bath. We're [unk] this. I have a large bowl here with ice water and I'm gonna let them sit in here for 1 minute until they're cold a little bit, and I'm ready to handle them. Okay, so, the next step, these have cold, we're are going to peel these. I have this nice bib bowl here and I have a sieve fashioned on top and using a paring knife, but honestly, I may not even really needing for this for coming off so well. We're just going to peel these and just let the peels fall in to the sieve, so perfect. Now, with the paring knife, we're just gonna cut this in half lengthwise and just with my hand like with a little cute little finger, I'm just gonna scoop out the seeds, perfect, and then scoop again, just kind of scoop this out until all the seeds out and then through the sieve, you can put your tomatoes to the side. You're just going to squeeze of all kind of any juice that you can of the seeds and out of the skins and just kind of push those to the bowl below, and then I'm gonna continue with the rest of your tomatoes. Okay, so look how much great juice I extracted from the seeds and the skins and then I just coarsely chop these tomatoes and we're ready to set this aside because we are now going to heat our oil. So I've got this large [unk] or you could use a Dutch oven, whichever. So, we're gonna heat this, pop our garlic in and stirring constantly, we're to cook the garlic for about 2 to 3 minutes or until it starts to color and get really fragrant. Already, it smells incredible. Alright, now check out my garlic, starting to get some color here, looks beautiful. Now, we're going to add in the onions and the salt, and I'm gonna pop a cover on this, stirring occasionally and I'm gonna let this cook until the onions are nice and tender about 10 to 15 minutes. Alright, check out our onions and garlic. They are wonderfully tender. The smell is just incredible in here. So, I know that it is time to add in my tomato paste and the oregano, and I'm gonna cook this in here also stirring occasionally for about 2 to 4 minutes or until the tomato paste begins to brown a little bit on the bottom. Alright, look how nice and kind of coating the bottom is getting a little bit, perfect. It's now time to add in the red wine and then the red wine vinegar, and we're gonna let this come to a simmer, which is doing nicely already until it reduced slightly about 2 minutes. So, that's reduced. It looks great. It is time to add in the tomatoes and that juice that we squeezed out. So, we're still leaving the basil and the pepper for later. We've not forgotten about them. Look at that and over there. Let's give this a nice stir to incorporate everything. I'm gonna cover this, reduce the heat, and let it just gently simmer for about 25 minutes or until the tomatoes have mostly broken down. Alright, so check out our tomato sauce. The tomatoes have broken down beautifully. This looks fantastic, smell even better. Do not forget about our basil. We're just gonna sprinkle that right in. Give it a nice toss. Make sure our heat is off, fantastic. I cannot express how good this smells, but I will stop trying because our very last step is to puree this. So depending upon the consistency that you like, you are going to either puree all of this in a food processor or blender. I'm gonna use a food processor here of if you like your sauce to be a little bit kind of chunky like I do, you'll just puree half like I about to do, and then just mix the pureed part back in. Oh my gosh, so good, so exciting, and then you'll be good to go. So, I'm just gonna give this a few pushes, and if you're working with a food processor, always make sure that you pay attention line where it says max liquid line. That is an important thing to know. And so you'll just do this in batches, but for me because I want it to stay kind of chunky, I'm just gonna puree this a little bit. Lift this up and I'm just going to add it right back in, remove the blade, look at that. Look how gorgeous. Now, I could have mixed even longer, but that will give it a really nice texture. Its consistency is amazing. It smells fantastic. I'm so excited. So, I'm going to enjoy some of these tonight maybe over some pasta and freeze the rest. So, I can enjoy fresh tomato sauce all year long.

What You'll Need

  • 4 1/2  pounds plum tomatoes
  • 1/4  cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3/4  cup chopped garlic, (about 2 heads)
  • 4   cups diced onions, (3-4 medium)
  • 1 1/2  teaspoons salt
  • 1/4  cup tomato paste
  • 1   teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2  cup red wine
  • 2   tablespoons red-wine vinegar
  • 1/2  cup chopped fresh basil
  •  freshly ground pepper, to taste

Step By Step

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Place a large bowl of ice water next to the stove. Using a sharp paring knife, core the tomatoes and score a small X into the flesh on the bottom.
Place the tomatoes in the boiling water, in batches, until the skins are slightly loosened, 30 seconds to 2 minutes.
Using a slotted spoon, transfer the tomatoes to the ice water and let sit in the water for 1 minute before removing.
Place a sieve over a bowl; working over it, peel the tomatoes using a paring knife, and let the skins fall into the sieve.
Halve the tomatoes crosswise and scoop out the seeds with a hooked finger, letting the sieve catch the seeds. Press on the seeds and skins to extract any extra juice. Coarsely chop the peeled tomatoes and set aside.
Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant and just beginning to color, 2 to 3 minutes. Add onions and salt, stir to coat, cover and cook, stirring often and adjusting heat as necessary to prevent burning, until soft and turning golden, 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in tomato paste and oregano and cook, stirring often, until the tomato paste is beginning to brown on the bottom of the pan, 2 to 4 minutes.
Pour in wine and vinegar; bring to a simmer, scraping up any browned bits with a spoon. Cook until reduced slightly, about 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and any juice; return to a simmer, stirring often. Reduce heat to maintain a gentle simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes are mostly broken down, about 25 minutes.
Remove from the heat; stir in basil and pepper. Transfer the sauce, in batches, to a blender or food processor. (Use caution when pureeing hot liquids.) Process until desired consistency. For a smooth sauce, puree it all; for a chunky sauce, puree just half and mix it back into the rest of the sauce.
MAKE AHEAD TIP: Cover and refrigerate for up to 5 days or freeze for up to 6 months.

Once you master the basics, you can play around with the recipe to tailor the sauce to your personal tastes. You may prefer a little more garlic, want it a little sweeter, or prefer a bit of heat from crushed red pepper.

nutrition information

Per Serving: cal. (kcal) 89, Fat, total (g) 4, carb. (g) 12, Monounsaturated fat (g) 3, fiber (g) 2, pro. (g) 2, sodium (mg) 223, Potassium (mg) 417, Vegetables () 2, Fat () 1, Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet
Back to Top