Classic Tomato Sauce for Pasta

Classic Tomato Sauce for Pasta
Classic Tomato Sauce for Pasta. Katie Workman /
Ratings (13)
  • Total: 30 mins
  • Prep: 5 mins
  • Cook: 25 mins
  • Yield: About 7 cups (14 servings)
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
54 Calories
3g Fat
6g Carbs
1g Protein
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Making your own pasta sauce is so easy; once you try it, you’ll wonder why you felt so dependent on that bottle of sauce (not that there’s anything wrong with bottled sauce – I have a few jars in my pantry at all times, for moments where I just don’t have those extra minutes, or I’m just pooped – no judgments here).  

There are as many recipes for tomato sauce as there are cooks who make tomato sauce…this is the one I use quite often, though you should feel very free to vary the theme.  It’s got a lot of flavor, so you can cut back on the amount of garlic and herbs if you are looking for a lighter sauce to use as a backdrop in a recipe, rather than a full-bodied sauce to star in your pasta dish.  The tomato paste thickens up the sauce and adds some richness, but you can leave it out if you prefer a thinner sauce.

You can always add some meatballs to the dish if you want a more robust meal.  If you don't have time to make them yourself, you can always buy some frozen or refrigerated, like Mama Mancini's, which can be found in the refrigerated section of your supermarket, and come in a bunch of varieties including some crowd-pleasing cheese-stuffed versions!


  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion (finely chopped, about 1 cup)
  • 1 teaspoon garlic (
  • finely minced)
  • 2 28 ounce cans tomatoes (crushed, in purée)
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon dried basil
  • Optional: 1 pinch red pepper flakes​
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (kosher or coarse)

Steps to Make It

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic, and cook for 5 minutes.  Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, oregano, basil and red pepper flakes, if using. Add salt and pepper and bring sauce to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until sauce thickens slightly, about 20 minutes.