Once you try homemade tomato sauce, you’ll be inspired to make it again and again.
It’s so fresh tasting and definitely beats what you get out of a can. You’ll want to pour it on absolutely everything! You might even drink it as a soup.
Today, I’m going to show you how to maximize all that fresh tomato flavor with your very own batch of tomato sauce. Whether you like it thick, thin, chunky, or smooth, this basic recipe will have you turning out really good sauce in about 45 minutes.
You can even use it to replace canned tomato puree or diced canned tomatoes.
So grab that apron, and let’s turn a bowl of tomatoes into something warm, sweet, acidic and summery.
PS: This butter anchovy tomato sauce with Bucatini takes 30 minutes in the Dutch oven and uses canned, peeled Roma tomatoes.
How to Make Flavorful Tomato Sauce From Scratch
When it comes to tomato sauce, you want to look for plump, ripe and above-all, flavorful Roma or plum tomatoes. You can even use canned tomatoes, such as San Marzano, which are already peeled.
With this recipe, it’s ok to use blemished tomatoes, just use a pairing knife to remove any flaws.
To concentrate the natural sweet-umami tomato flavor, remove those seeds! Give them a glug of extra virgin olive oil and roast in the oven until you see the skin blister.
Since peak tomatoes need little more than fresh basil, olive oil, and sautéed onion, this recipe is all about purity in flavor. In other words, your sauce may be more light and clean tasting than you are used to in a tomato sauce.
Therefore, I’ll leave it up to you whether to add sautéed garlic, oregano, or Parmesan.
Pro Tip: Add a pinch of salt from the beginning to the end of the cooking process. That way, the salt has time to work its way into the food.
Thick, Thin, Chunky, or Smooth
Depending on how you purée (blend) the tomatoes and how much water you add, you will create your own desired consistency. For a really smooth, creamy texture, I recommend using a blender; this is perfect for soup!
Today, I used an immersion blender to keep things simple. You can see that my sauce has a bit of texture, but is mostly smooth, much like canned tomato puree. You can achieve this texture in a food processor, too.
For a chunkier texture, go ahead and roughly chop the tomatoes prior to roasting (or lightly pulse into large pieces).
Ingredient Tip: Whenever you use a fresh ingredient, like summer tomatoes, you will notice that each batch of tomato sauce tastes a bit different. You can always adjust the seasoning at the end to suit your taste.
- You can use this sauce as-is with homemade pizza dough for the ultimate garden to table pizza margherita. Addicting!
- It’s also a welcome dipping sauce for mozzarella sticks, garlic bread, or polenta fries.
- To turn this into a zippy tomato soup dinner, thin it out with water and try adding some garlic and red chile flakes. Top it all off with some croutons.
- For a fresh and fast meal or side, ladle it over sautéed zucchini, pasta, or roasted crispy potatoes.
Variations to Try
- truffle oil
- add these to the soft onions: curry leaves, mustard seeds, cumin, coriander
- white wine (reduce with the softened onions)
More Sauce Recipes
- Essential Lemon Garlic Sauce
- Zhug (Yemenite Spiced Green Sauce)
- 5-Ingredient Peanut Sauce
- How to Make Chamoy
- Pumpkin Seed Pesto with Kale
- Roasted Red Pepper Coulis
With such a flexible recipe, you can hardly go wrong, and I’m sure you will have fun mixing and matching different herbs and spices. FYI, the basil gives it a slight Italian feel, but you could leave it out if your goal is to use it in, say, chili.
Roasted Roma Tomato Sauce
- 15 large ripe plum tomatoes seeded and halved or 1 (28-oz) can plum tomatoes, drained and juices reserved
- ¼ cup olive oil divided
- ½ medium white onion chopped
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves
- ½ cup water
- 2 ½ tsp sea salt divided
- ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 425°F.
- Place the tomatoes on a baking sheet and drizzle with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Roast for 30 minutes. Set aside to cool.
- Warm the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a medium pot over medium heat. Add the onion with ½ teaspoon salt and saute until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes.
- Transfer the tomatoes and onion to a blender or food processor (or use an immersion blender) and pulse until smooth. Return the sauce to the saucepot and add the basil, water, 2 teaspoons salt, and pepper. Simmer over medium heat for 5 minutes to marry the flavors. Serve hot or transfer to the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
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