The Ultimate Tomato Pasta Sauce

The Ultimate Tomato Pasta Sauce

Prep Time 30 Minutes
Serves 4
Cook Time 30 Minutes
Difficulty Easy

'Sugo al pomodoro’ is the traditional Italian basic tomato sauce, just like Mamma used to make. It is used everywhere in Italy on pasta, on gnocchi, on pizza, and in baked dishes like melanzana parmigiana. The sauce is best made fresh, but you can freeze it if you want an emergency back up. If you are lucky enough to live somewhere where you can get fresh, fruity and fully ripened tomatoes you can of course use them instead of the tinned used here.

Like all the best Italian secrets, it is simplicity itself.


  • Extra virgin olive oil, 6 tsp
  • Onions, 2 medium
  • Italian plum tomatoes, 800g/ 28 oz tinned
  • Dried oregano, 1 tsp at least
  • Fresh basil, couple of sprigs
  • Garlic, 3 large cloves
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Milk or sugar, to taste


Step 1
Pour a generous amount of olive oil into a non-stick pan and heat it up. Finely chop the onions and add them, with a generous pinch of salt and grind of pepper. Stir. When the onions begin to colour, add half a glass of water and cover. Let them cook for a few minutes at very low heat so they become nice and soft and will melt into the sauce later on.
Step 2
Add the plum tomatoes and using a wooden spoon mush them to a pulp (or use a tin of chopped tomatoes, but I rather enjoy the tomato squashing). Once all mushed up, squeeze in the garlic, add the dried oregano and a few leaves of fresh basil. Check again for seasoning and either add a splash of milk or a good pinch of sugar to take off the tang.
Step 3
Let this cook, uncovered, on a very low heat for at least 30 minutes. The sauce will thicken up, so stir occasionally, and add more water if it gets too thick. Again check for seasoning and if the sauce is slightly acidicy add a touch more sugar or milk.