Recipe: Basic Tomato Sauce

updated May 5, 2022
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image
(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

You’ve been asking for our sauce recipe using fresh tomatoes.

We’ve been refining our recipe, double-checking our measurements, and now we’re ready to share. Let us know how this compares to your tomato sauce recipe and the recipe your great-great grandmother carried over from Italy (we should be so lucky!).

This basic tomato sauce manages to hold on to the fresh, bright flavors of a garden tomato while also providing some complexity. We hope you’ll agree that the balance of acid and sweetness is perfect-o.

As we mentioned earlier this week, our tomato sauce requires a wide skillet and a

food mill

Basic Tomato Sauce

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 finely-chopped onion
2 finely-chopped carrots
1 finely-chopped stalk celery and leaves
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon chopped basil
1/2 tablespoon thyme
2 pounds coarsely chopped plum tomatoes
2 teaspoons tomato paste
salt and pepper to taste

Heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add onion, carrot, celery and cook until the vegetables have softened, about 10 minutes.

Add the garlic, basil and thyme and cook for an additional minute.

Decrease the heat to low and stir in the tomatoes, tomato paste and the salt and pepper. Don’t forget the salt, it will help the tomatoes break down. Simmer the sauce 25-30 minutes, stirring often, until the sauce has thickened and all the tomatoes have broken down.

Put the sauce through a

food mill

This recipe will make about three cups of sauce.