The BEST Tomato Sauce!

Authentic and delicious tomato sauce! This is a go-to,  easy, authentic, and flavorful tomato sauce recipe you will love! I make this weekly and store it in a mason jar in the fridge and use it for an easy lunch with pasta or add to any recipe that calls for tomato sauce. It also freezes great. I receive countless compliments on the fresh, flavorful, and light taste of this simple authentic recipe. Most canned pasta sauces are filled with a dozen ingredients and spices. The overdone sauce complicates the pure sweet flavor of the tomato itself. The key is using the right kind of canned tomatoes and good quality olive oil as a base. Italian recipes are mostly simple- a few fresh ingredients and spices create a balanced combination of flavors that complement one another perfectly.

That’s it. Mangia! Mangia! Con Amore.

photo of Italian pasta dish
Add fresh mozzarella and make it a meal!

A little history behind this recipe: 

I wrote this piece for a high school English class and it sums up my memories of this Classic Sugo al Pomodoro that my Nonna Laura made multiple times a week.

Story: Sweet Summer Mornings

I remember the smell of onions roasting in olive oil at 8:00 in the morning. The hot and humid summer air slyly seep through the wooden door panes as the familiar smell of onions tickled my nose. I love onions but the smell of them this early continuously nauseates me.

“Chiara, Chiara” I whispered from the top bunk (speaking in Italian of course). “Has the smell woken you yet?”“Agh, I never really feel asleep with all the snoring in this house”, a big sigh, “not to mention the 25 year old mattress that sucked in my entire body, I don’t know if I can move.”

We both slumped out of bed and found our way to the small kitchen of our summer beach home. Nonna, my Italian grandmother, finished up with zucchini con cippole,- an onion and zucchini side dish and started on the pasta al sugo- tomato sauce. As a real Italian woman the first thing she did when she got up was start cooking for lunch. After making our way through the hustle-bustle of the kitchen we found our aunts, uncles, and little cousins surrounding the breakfast table in the back veranda. The air was sticky, but a slight salty breeze made its way from the beach 15 yards away. I looked to see wise Nonno Livio, my grandfather, sitting quiet in his chair at the head of the table reading the paper and observing his family. From his eyes I could tell this moment reflected perfection. As he looked at us the love of these summer mornings created tears in his eyes. He sat and enjoyed the noise of a reunited family. It’s safe to say we all dreamed of moments like these all year long.

I wonder why this moment felt so special when it mirrored normal life: our big Italian family with loud voices, laughter, and shouting from the kids. I wanted this moment always- not just on summer holidays. I always felt torn between my American and Italian life. Why should I have to choose, it isn’t fair. Too many people live in the same city as their relatives and neglect the opportunity to even see them. Do they realize the blessing? Sometimes, I wish I could wake up to the smell of roasting onions in olive oil every morning, so I could walk down those familiar steps and see all my family around that table- together again to live another sweet summer morning.

I hope you enjoy this simple recipe as much as my family has for  generations.

Made with Amore,


easy tomato sauce, homemade tomato sauce
Flavorful and delicious! Easy homemade tomato sauce

pasta with tomato sauce
Delicious dinner in under 25 minutes! Serve with hot bread.


Other Recipes for YOU:

Creamy Polenta with Polpette al Sugo (meatballs in tomato sauce)

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Italian tomato sauce

Sugo al Pomodoro (Classic Tomato Sauce)

  • Author: Elena
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 6 1x
  • Category: Sauces
  • Method: Italian
  • Cuisine: Italian


Fresh, flavorful and light taste, a simple authentic recipe for classic Italian tomato sauce (Sugo al Pomodoro). Great for any pasta dish! Add chicken or fresh mozzarella and make it a meal! 


  • 1 yellow onion, chopped or cut into thin slices (depending on preference)
  • 1 TBS  olive oil (good quality such as Colavita) 
  • 1  28 oz can of good quality vine ripe tomatoes (such as San Marzano)
  • 56 leaves of fresh basil, whole and washed
  • Freshly grated parmigianno for serving


  1. In a large sauce pan, medium heat, add olive oil and sauté onion about 6 minutes 
  2.  Add canned tomatoes. Cover and let simmer on low-medium heat (the sauce should bubble, but not boil) for 20 minutes until liquid reduces slightly
  3. Stir occasionally
  4. Turn off heat and add the basil to the sauce
  5. Serve immediately with your favorite pasta or spaghetti
  6. Add parmigiano cheese for serving 


I often store this sauce in a Mason jar in the fridge for up to two weeks. I often triple the recipe and freeze in portions (I use freezer bags) so I always have some ready to go!

Keywords: tomato sauce recipe, italian tomato sauce, classic tomato sauce