Basic Tomato Sauce

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15 min


10 cups (2.5 L)

* PLUS Cooking time: 60 minutes


  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 2 small onions
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 796-mL cans plum tomatoes
  • 1/3 cup tomato paste
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 tsp dried sage
  • 2 tsp granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 to 1 tsp hot-red-chili-flakes , optional
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil , optional


  • Mince garlic and chop onions. Finely chop fresh rosemary. Heat oil in a large, wide saucepan set over medium-low heat. Add garlic, onions and rosemary. Stir often until onions start to soften, about 15 min. Reduce heat if garlic begins to brown. Meanwhile, open plum tomatoes and pour into a very large bowl. Coarsely crush tomatoes with your hands or a potato masher.
  • Once onions are soft, add tomato paste. Stir frequently for 2 min. Then add tomatoes including juice, oregano, sage, sugar, salt and chili flakes. Increase heat to high. Bring to a boil, stirring often, then reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer, uncovered and stirring occasionally, from 40 to 50 min to develop flavour. Meanwhile, chop fresh basil.
  • To thicken sauce, ladle about a third into food processor. Whirl until fairly smooth, then stir back into saucepan with basil. Taste and add more sugar, if needed. Sauce will keep well, covered and refrigerated, about 1 week. Flavour improves as it sits. Or freeze in small portions for easy meals. It will freeze well up to 4 or 5 months.

Nutrition (per serving)

  • Calories
  • 109,
  • Protein
  • 2.6 g,
  • Carbohydrates
  • 14.2 g,
  • Fat
  • 5.8 g,
  • Fibre
  • 2.7 g,
  • Sodium
  • 549 mg.

This fresh-tasting, fragrant sauce is your ticket to countless Italian dishes. It may be tempting to rush through some of the steps, but don’t skimp on sautéing the onion mixture; it needs the full 15 min to release its rich flavours.

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