In this post, you’ll learn how to make the basic and authentic Italian tomato sauce recipe. You can use this tomato sauce for pasta, lasagna, or meatballs.

the authentic Italian tomato sauce recipe in a pan
how to make tomato sauce from scratch #gourmetproject

The authentic Italian tomato sauce recipe is the easiest thing to make. So it won’t surprise you that, in Italy, fast food means cooking pasta and making the tomato sauce from scratch.

tomato sauce and tomato paste

Tomato sauce uses tomato paste as the main ingredient to make a simple and delicious pasta seasoning. But tomato paste alone is not enough.

Although I must confess (and my Italian family hates when I do), I sometimes add it raw to my cooked pasta, then I add a teaspoon or so of olive oil, salt to taste and a lot of grated parmesan cheese. The heat of pasta helps the ingredients merge a bit, not as much as they do when you cook it properly, but enough for me when so-hungry-I-can’t-wait-a-minute-more.


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authentic Italian tomato sauce recipe on pasta
tomato puree for the authentic Italian tomato sauce recipe

tomato sauce vs crushed tomatoes

Sugo, the authentic Italian tomato sauce, is made with passata (tomato puree). But you can also make it with canned tomatoes, there’s just an additional step: to crush them with a fork, before adding them to the pan. Crushed tomatoes tomato sauce is not creamy, of course, but rich and dense, with pieces you sense every now and then. It’s a better condiment for short pasta shapes. While tomato paste sauce is better for spaghetti and other long pasta shapes.

The tomato sauce out of tomato paste ingredients are basically five: tomato paste (also called puree or passata), extra-virgin olive oil, garlic, salt, and tomato sauce herbs, usually basil. Sometimes oregano (fresh or dry), and quite often with a touch of chili.

Let’s see how to make the real Italian tomato sauce from paste

authentic Italian tomato sauce

homemade tomato sauce with tomato paste

Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 2 people
Calories 319 kcal
Author Claudia Rinaldi


  • 17.6 oz tomato paste 500 gr or 2 cups + 2 tablespoons
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 4-5 basil leaves
  • extra-virgin olive oil
  • salt


  1. Peel and crush the garlic clove with the blade of a big knife.
  2. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a medium pan.
  3. Add the garlic clove and brown it a couple of minutes.
  4. Remove the pan from the heat and wait a couple of minutes for the temperature to decrease a bit. Add the passata (careful, it might splatter).

  5. Add a teaspoon of salt, mix and cook, lid on, medium heat, for 5 minutes.
  6. Turn off the heat.
  7. Cut the basil leaves in 3-4, with your hands, and add them to the sauce. Mix and taste for salt. Cover and let the basil relieve its aroma for about 5 minutes.

  8. Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to package directions.

  9. Drain the pasta and season it with the DIY tomato sauce and sprinkle it with grated Parmesan cheese as per your taste.

tomato sauce with canned tomatoes #gourmetproject
tomato sauce out of tomato paste #gourmetproject

add chicken to the sauce!

chicken tomato pasta

a traditional recipe from Tuscany

Enjoy your sugo!