Authentic (Quick) Italian Tomato Sauce for Pasta

This authentic Italian tomato sauce is so quick, and easy to make that it’s ready before the pasta is finished cooking! Read the reviews; when you make this once, you’ll never go back to those inauthentic, sugar-filled jar sauces. Buon appetito!





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NOTE: if you like a smooth sauce (no bits of tomato or skin, etc.), just puree the tomatoes or use puree. Make it exactly the same way.

As promised, here is my own “how to make tomato sauce” post. This is continued from my last rant where I dissected BuzzFeed’s attempt to write a recipe for making “the best” tomato sauce, explaining why it was all wrong.
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Actually, this is not “my” recipe—this is a basic recipe that millions of Italians have used for ages to make one type of Italian pasta sauce. It’s the equivalent to posting a recipe for a basic hamburger in the US; it’s not an actual copyrighted recipe, and of course there are variations, but almost everyone knows how to make a hamburger. However, many Americans ask…

How do you Make Fresh Tomato Sauce for Pasta?

It’s not difficult at all, and you’ll be so happy with the results (just read the reviews below).
This is a super quick Italian pasta sauce recipe, or sugo, which is actually ready by the time the pasta is done (usually it’s ready before then). I made a chunky tomato sauce, but you can make a smooth sauce with puréed tomatoes, which I often use.
You may also like to make homemade gnocchi and serve it with this sauce.



CAVEAT: If you substitute any of the ingredients which I list, or alter any of the directions, you must realize that you will not have the same outcome, or the same flavor as the sauce that I make.
Once, I gave a friend a recipe with instructions on which specific ingredients to use. The friend made the recipe and then told me, “It didn’t taste as good as yours.” After a brief investigation, I realized that she had substituted inferior quality ingredients. If you want the best results, use the best ingredients!




How to Check Whether Your Canned/Jar/Box Tomatoes are Good Quality.

Want a tip on testing if your choice of canned tomatoes are top quality? First, read the label: tomatoes from Italy are usually very good, but do check the ingredients. You do not want anything added other than tomatoes, salt, basil or citric acid.

Perfect Plum Muffins

The best product is just tomatoes (I prefer the ones from a glass jar). I’ve also seen news stories where tomatoes were brought from China, then canned in Italy so they could say “made in Italy”. They added color and all sorts of nasty things, so don’t just rely on the label.
Once you decide to purchase said tomatoes, here’s the second test: open the can/jar/carton and dip your fingertip into the tomatoes or puree. Does it taste good? If you made a sour face, they’re probably not going to make a great sauce. If the answer is “Yes, they’re sweet and tasty!” then you’ve found the right tomatoes!


Authentic (Quick) Italian Tomato Sauce
for Pasta (Spaghetti Sauce)



Ingredients
  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (like Lucini)
  • 4 or 5 cloves fresh garlic (not in a jar, dried, powdered, or frozen) preferably grown in USA
  • small bunch of fresh Italian parsley, finely chopped (my family likes to use parsley in sugo)
  • 1 (28-32 oz) carton/jar of chopped tomatoes or puree (like Mutti, or Bionaturae– I no longer like POMI since their tomatoes are no longer good quality) ultimately, fresh Roma tomatoes are best if you have them
  • about 1 1/2 level tsp Diamond Crystal Kosher or sea salt
  • 3 or 4 large leaves of fresh basil
  • Parmigiano Reggiano to grate
To enjoy with pasta as soon as the sauce is ready, put a large pot of salted water on the cooktop over high heat and cook the pasta (I prefer De Cecco) as directed (if you are using egg or a very quick cooking pasta, do this about half-way through these directions).
Pour the oil into a large sauté pan (not a deep pot) over medium high heat. Crush the garlic and add it to the oil (if you want a spicy sauce, you can add some hot pepper, fresh or flakes, at this point). Sauté the garlic until it just starts to brown, then add the parsley.

Turn the heat up to high. Now, add the tomatoes, and quickly cover with the lid for about 30 seconds, until the squirting subsides. Stir with a wooden spoon and lower the heat a little. It is important that this sauce is cooked at a fast simmer, as it is cooked briefly.

UPDATED: I have stopped buying POMI tomatoes due to the drop in quality
Add the salt and continue to simmer at a fast pace, and stir often, WITHOUT THE LID.
The sauce will thicken quickly, so do not overcook it, and have it become too thick; about 5 to 7 minutes should be sufficient.

Taste the sauce, if it doesn’t taste delicious, it probably just needs a little more salt. Turn off the heat and add the fresh basil (I tear mine into pieces). Also, unless absolutely necessary, do not wash your basil. Wipe it with a damp paper towel instead, so the water doesn’t ruin the flavor and aroma of the basil.
Add your authentic Italian tomato sauce to the drained pasta in the same pot. Save some pasta water to add back into the pasta in case it’s too dry. Top with some freshly grated authentic Parmigiano Reggiano cheese or Pecorino Romano, and freshly ground black pepper. You now have an authentic Italian tomato sauce to use as you please!
Also, if you’ve been plating pasta in a bowl, then topping it with sauce, this is American-style. It honestly doesn’t taste as good if served this way. (If you don’t believe me, try it both ways, side by side.)
If you want to serve it the way they do in Italy, mix the sauce in with the pasta and then plate it. Domenica Marchetti, who is an authority on Italian cuisine and the author of six Italian cookbooks explains this on her site, also. She also shares a simple Italian tomato sauce recipe which is almost identical to this recipe.

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PREP TIME : 5 minutes    COOK TIME : 10 minutes  TOTAL TIME : 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (like De Cecco or Lucini)
  • 4 or 5 cloves fresh garlic (not in a jar, dried, powdered, or frozen) preferably grown in USA
  • small bunch of fresh Italian parsley, finely chopped (my family likes to use parsley in sugo)
  • 1 (28-32 oz) carton/jar of chopped tomatoes or puree (like De Cecco, Mutti, or Bionaturae- I no longer like POMI since their quality dropped) ultimately, fresh Roma tomatoes are best if you have them
  • about 1 1/2 level tsp Kosher salt
  • 3 or 4 large leaves of fresh basil

Instructions

  1. Pour the oil into a large saute pan (not a deep pot) over medium high heat. Crush the garlic and add it to the oil (if you want a spicy sauce, you can add some hot pepper, fresh or flakes, at this point). Saute the garlic until it just starts to brown, then add the parsley.
  2. Turn the heat up to high. Now add the tomatoes, and quickly cover with the lid for about 30 seconds, until the squirting subsides. Stir with a wooden spoon and lower the heat a little. It is important that this sauce is cooked at a fast simmer, as it is cooked briefly.
  3. Add the salt and continue to simmer at a fast pace, and stir often.
  4. The sauce will thicken quickly, so do not overcook it, and have it become too thick; about 5 to 7 minutes should be sufficient.
  5. Taste the sauce, if it doesn't taste delicious, it probably just needs a little more salt. Turn off the heat and add the fresh basil (I tear mine into pieces). Also, unless absolutely necessary, do not wash your basil. Wipe it with a damp paper towel instead, so the water doesn't ruin the flavor and aroma.
  6. Add sauce to the drained pasta (save some pasta water to add back into the pasta in case it's too dry), and enjoy immediately with some freshly grated authentic Parmigiano Reggiano cheese and/or pepper.
  7. Also, if you've been plating pasta in a bowl, then topping it with sauce, this is American-style. If you want to serve it the way they do in Italy, mix the sauce in and then plate it.