Learn how to make fresh tomato sauce with any type of tomatoes you have on hand. This recipe is rich in flavor and the most delicious compliment to any Italian meal. Say adios to canned tomatoes!
When it comes to pasta I am ALL about that red sauce. And that is especially true when it’s made with garden-fresh tomatoes! My family has high standards when it comes to pasta sauce – we love Italian food and make my mom’s San Marzano Tomato Sauce year-round.
But this was my first year trying sauce with my mom’s garden tomatoes… And let me tell you – my life is forever changed.
We tried this sauce first with pizza and almost DIED – it was better than I expected. And I will say, we do not ever put our other homemade sauces on pizza because they are too rich. But this was perfection!
We then served it with pasta the next night and it was outstanding. I cannot say enough good things about this sauce! You’ll only need to take a few steps to accomplish it, once you get that sauce simmering – it’s smooth sailing ahead.
Tomatoes: I’ve used a variety of different types of tomatoes. The best for sauce are plum tomatoes, but I used a mix of cherry, plum, and a few larger tomatoes as well.
Onion: small yellow onion or half of a large onion should work.
Garlic cloves: I recommend using lots of fresh garlic – not powder. The more garlic the better as I always say! 😉
Oil: I recommend using a high-quality olive oil.
Basil: use lots of fresh basil in this sauce and always add it at the very end for the freshest flavor.
Tomato paste: This is to help thicken the sauce to perfection. I recommend using a quality tomato paste – I love using the brand Amore.
How to Make Fresh Tomato Sauce – Step by Step
First, saute onions and garlic in oil until soft. Remove from burner and set aside.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil and carefully place tomatoes in water and boil for 3 minutes until they start to peel and wrinkle. Remove tomatoes with a slotted spoon and let cool.
Carefully peel tomato skins off, remove any hard cores with a knife, and then roughly chop.
Add tomatoes and tomato paste to the pan with sauteed onions and garlic, simmer for 2+ hours. Then stir in fresh basil.
Extra Tips to Remember
- Chunky or smooth – I really love tomatoes so I prefer a thicker/chunkier sauce. If you like a smoother sauce use a hand-immersion blender or food processor and pulse until desired consistency.
- The more cook time the richer the sauce. I set the cook time to 2+ hours, but you can simmer it for up to 5 hours for an even richer flavor.
- Always add herbs at the end – this is super important when it comes to the taste. Adding herbs while the sauce cooks can result in a bitter flavor – so I always recommend stirring fresh herbs in at the very end for the freshest tasting results.
- Is the sauce too acid? Add more tomato paste 1 Tablespoon at a time. Paste is sweet and concentrated, it thickens and adds sweetness that helps with unwanted acidity.
How to Store Leftovers & Freeze
Refrigerator: completely cool sauce to room temperature, store in sealed mason jars or glass airtight containers, and keep in the fridge for 5-7 days.
Freezer: cool sauce to room temperature, then store in an airtight glass container and freeze for up to 3 months. When ready to reheat, remove and let thaw for 2-3 hours. Then add to pot and reheat.
We are absolutely in love with this homemade red sauce. Layer it in your favorite lasagna, serve it on your favorite pizza, and of course with pasta! Either way you serve it up, we know you will love it!
Our Favorite Ways to Serve it Up
From spreading this sauce on cast iron skillet pizza, baked pasta with roasted vegetables, to serving it with tasty vegetarian Italian dishes like our baked eggplant rollatini. There are so many ways to serve this amazingly fresh sauce!
The Best Fresh Tomato Sauce
- Sauté onions & garlic: Heat your sauce pot with oil, then saute diced onions and minced garlic until soft (about 3-5 minutes). Remove from burner and set aside.
- Boil tomatoes: Then bring a large pot of water to a boil for blanching. In shifts, drop tomatoes into water while boiling until they begin to wrinkle and peel (about 2-3 minutes). Use a slotted spoon to remove tomatoes and place on sheet pan to cool.
- Peel cooled tomatoes: Use hands to peel the skin from tomatoes. Use a pairing knife to carefully remove the hard tomato core. Roughly chop up tomatoes and add to pot with the onions and garlic.
- Simmer: Add tomato paste and pinch of salt, let tomatoes simmer on LOW for up to 2 hours – stir often.
- Season with herbs: When sauce is finished, season with salt to taste, add a dash of black pepper, and stir in chopped fresh basil. Enjoy! See notes for storing tips.