Tomato Sauce

Mar 11, 2013 by Visual Recipes | 0 Comments| Share it:   



6 ratings


  • Prep: ~30 mins.
  • Cook: 30 mins. - 1 hr.
  • Serves: 8

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This is a recipe for a basic tomato sauce that is perfect over freshly made pasta, ravioli, or chicken parmesan. Making your own tomato sauce can be a much healthier alternative than buying a jar of spaghetti sauce at your local supermarket as it allows you to control the amount of salt and sugar that goes into it. This recipe uses 3/4 of a grated carrot to add sweetness and to also offset the acidity of the tomatoes. What’s great is that you can’t even taste the carrot in the sauce.

If you are looking for the best canned tomatoes, we recommend Muir Glen or Hunt’s for domestic brands. For an even less acidic sauce, we like Cento’s DOP-certified San Marzano tomatoes that are imported from Italy.


  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion - yellow, chopped or diced
  • 3/4 of a medium-sized carrot - grated
  • 3 tablespoons fresh thyme - stems removed
  • 2 (28-ounce) cans of peeled whole tomatoes - Crush them up with your hands.
  • 4 cloves of garlic - thinly sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes - use less if you don't like heat
  • 3 large leaves of fresh basil - shredded
  • sea salt - if needed
  • 3/4 teaspoon sugar - if needed

Step 1

Removing the thyme leaves from the stem is easy. All you need to do is hold the tip where the younger leaves are and drag your thumb and forefinger down the stem. The thyme leaves will pop right off the stem. The leaves at the top can be quickly plucked off. Getting the leaves off the smaller side shoots that branch off the main stem is a bit more difficult as those little stems break easily. You can either pluck the leaves off those or pinch off a bunch of thyme while taking off as little of the little stem as possible.

Step 2

Peel the outer skin of the carrot away using a potato peeler. Grate the carrot into a bowl using a microplane.

Place the peeled whole tomatos and their juice into a large bowl. With clean hands, squeeze each of the tomatoes under the tomato juice to prevent splatter. Break up the tomatoes as much as possible by squeezing them. If you don't want to use your bare hands, use disposable food preparation gloves.

Step 3

Place the extra-virgin olive oil into a 3-quart saucepan over medium heat.

Step 4

Once the oil is hot, add the garlic and onions to the oil.

Step 5

Saute the garlic and onions for 8 minutes. The onions should begin turning a golden brown color.

Step 6

Add in the thyme and grated carrot.

Step 7

Saute for a few minutes or until the grated carrot becomes soft.

Step 8

Add in the crushed tomatoes and their juice. Stir well.

Step 9

Raise the heat to bring the mixture up to a boil. Stir frequently. Once boiling, lower the heat down to maintain a simmer. Steam should always be rising from the pot. Simmer for 45 minutes to 1 hour, stirring every 5 minutes. Once the sauce reaches the consistency you want, turn off the heat. I cook it for a full hour as I don't like a pasta sauce that is too watery. I aim for a consistency that is close to that of oatmeal.

Step 10

Remove the sauce pan from the burner. Stir in red pepper flakes for a little bit of heat. This will give the sauce some zing. Taste the sauce. Add salt if needed. If the tomato sauce is a bit tart or acidic, add about 3/4 of a teaspoon of sugar. Stir well and taste again to see if it needs anymore. Add a few chopped or shredded basil leaves and stir well. It's important to add soft herbs like basil at the end of the cooking process to prevent the sauce from becoming bitter.

This sauce is a bit thick and chunky. It would be a great on rigatoni and topped with freshly grated parmesan cheese. If you want to make a smoother sauce, just use an immersion blender to thin it out.

The tomato sauce will keep in the fridge for about 4 days. To keep the tomato sauce longer, put it into small containers and place in the freezer. Using small containers allows you to easily reheat single servings as needed whenever you need a delicious pasta sauce.

Now that you have learned how to make tomato sauce, please be sure to view these other sauce recipes.

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