Actually making fresh tomato sauce is quite simple, it’s quite surprising that for some people learning how to make tomato sauce is seen as a mystery and resort to buying cans or jars. It’s not hard at all, we promise you! Why not make it yourself and give up buying those ready-made jars of dubious origins?
You only need three ingredients —tomatoes, olive oil and salt— and a little bit of time, 45 minutes, I won’t try to deceive you, but you can do other things in the meantime. You can get away with half an hour, but those fifteen minutes allow the time for the tomatoes to reduce any acidity as much as possible and become sweet.
If you prefer the texture of your fresh tomato sauce completely homogeneous with a more liquid consistency, use a blender or a food processor at the end of the cooking process. We don’t, but it’s perfectly legitimate to blend the final result.
As we always use heirloom, organic or the best natural tomatoes we can find we stopped seeding them for our homemade tomato sauce recipe long ago. When the tomatoes taste like in the old days seeds aren’t an unwelcome element of the sauce, on the contrary they form an harmonic whole we don’t want to miss by removing a part of it. After all, we are not cooking for a three-starred restaurant, our needs and goals are different: We are home cooks and proud of it!
Granted, on the rare occasions when tomatoes are too acidic, we seed them, but only then, because as we mentioned above we have seen that seeding isn’t necessary for making the best tomato sauce recipe or any variation of Catalan sofregit that you can add to or use in so many pasta and rice dishes and other recipes.
Regardless, it’s up to you. If you don’t like finding tomato seeds when you are eating, go ahead and seed the tomatoes. Like blending, seeding is perfectly legitimate, it’s a matter of personal preference.
As an example, with the ingredients we give below you would have enough fresh tomato sauce for four people eating pasta alla norma. It’s easy do double or halve the ingredients according to your family and guest needs.
Regarding the kitchen tools you can use a skillet, a small dutch oven or an earthenware casserole. We have used them all on different occasions and all of them give good results.
Ingredients for fresh tomato sauce recipe
- 450 g or 1 pound ripe tomatoes — peeled and diced
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, extra-virgin if possible
How to make tomato sauce
- Peel the tomatoes by putting them in a bowl and covering them with boiling water. Set them aside for 5 minutes or more and peel them. Click here for detailed instructions. (Opens in new window.)
- Seed the tomatoes — this is an optional step.
- Add the olive oil to a skillet and when it’s hot add the diced tomatoes.
- Turn the heat to medium-low and cook uncovered for forty-five (the bare minimum is half an hour if you are in a hurry) or until the sauce looks caramelized or has a confiture-like consistency. Stir from time to time during the cooking.
- When some of the liquid has evaporated and the color of the tomatoes begins to change turn the heat to low to prevent sticking.
- Add a pinch of salt to taste towards the end of the cooking and stir.
- Optionally, you can blend the fresh tomato sauce.
Simple tomato sauce recipe: tips and variations
- You can start by adding a sprig of rosemary to the olive oil and cook over low heat for 5 to 10 minutes before adding the tomatoes. This will give a delicious flavor to the olive oil and the fresh tomato sauce.
- You can add mince garlic to the olive oil and cook over very low heat for a few minutes.
- You can flavor this easy tomato sauce with fresh herbs like oregano, marjoram or basil leaves towards the end of the cooking process.
- Basil is the perfect match for tomatoes, but keep in mind that you must add the basil leaves, about ten or so, when the sauce is almost done, as too much heat kills that refreshing flavor so typical of fresh basil and eliminates its properties and taste.
- If your tomatoes are too acidic, add half to one teaspoon of sugar, brown sugar is fine, better actually.
- Another way of reducing the acidity of tomatoes is to add a grated or finely chopped carrot to the tomatoes half way into the cooking.
Do you know of a variation of this fresh tomato sauce recipe that you usually cook? Share your thoughts in the comments below!