Authentic Italian Tomato Sauce

Total Time
3hrs 20mins
Prep 20 mins
Cook 3 hrs

This is a recipe I got from my father who got it from a little old lady he knew from Italy. I always simmer this sauce with my meatballs (recipe posted). You can also add sausage if you like. This sauce is to die for!!!!

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. In a large pot, sauté onion and garlic in olive oil.
  2. Empty plum tomatoes into large bowl and squash with your hands.
  3. Add all ingredients (including any meatballs or sausage you want to add) to pot and simmer for 3 hours.


Most Helpful

It is so frustrating when people post " this recipe is great" ...but then list 10 ingredients or quantities the changed<br/> Please post your own recipes and just tell me how this recipe is. Yikes.

1person January 26, 2014

I wanted to add my experience regarding how you saut? the onion and garlic in the same pan and then adding sugar to the recipe. Here is what I%u2019ve learned from my own cooking experience and from reading hundreds of recipes. Many recipes tell you to saut? the onions in the same pan in which you make your sauce as it adds more flavor to the dish. The recipe as posted says to use olive oil and if you have that in the bottom of your pan, you are not likely to burn the onions unless you are saut?ing them at too high a heat. Any sticky bits should then be scraped up as you are adding the other wet ingredients (tomatoes). This only adds flavor, unless you%u2019ve burned them. So cook slowly only until onions soften.
As for sugar being added to the recipe, I have two things to say. The poster of this recipe, %u2018InMemoryofBrats%u2019, says that this recipe was given to her father from a lady from Italy. Most people from Italy didn%u2019t use canned (from the store) tomatoes; they would have used fresh or something they canned themselves. Tomatoes and the sweetness of those tomatoes vary from season to season and sometimes from fruit to fruit on the same bush. To avoid bitterness that some tomatoes have, you can add sugar to make up for not having a sweet tomato. So, check your sauce and if you feel it%u2019s too bitter, add some sugar, a little at a time. Of course then there are some people that just love a sweeter sauce and for them, the two tablespoons of sugar may be needed. I just wanted to clarify this to new cooks and hope it helps someone.

yoyomi January 12, 2013

Beware Brits. If you are cooking this then don't do what I did and use the tomato puree as we know it in UK. As I have since found out, the Americans call what we call Pasatta, Tomata Puree. In UK tomoato puree is the thick concentrated stuff that the Americans call tomato paste. It was like wallpaper paste when finished and a bit too tomatoey, but i still ate it, not wasting that many meatballs :). Anyway, since finding this out I have re-tried the recipe with tomata pasatta instead of puree and it is an absolute gem of a recipe. thanks.

daniel.reeves August 26, 2008

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