Fresh Tomato Pasta Sauce

Fresh Tomato Pasta Sauce

The Spruce / Julia Estrada

Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 90 mins
Total: 110 mins
Servings: 10 servings

When you have an abundance of ripe, juicy tomatoes, there's nothing better than turning them into a flavorful sauce to enjoy over pasta, as well as with other Italian-inspired dishes. Simply made from aromatics, tomatoes, and herbs, with just a dash of sugar, the sauce highlights the red fruit and makes for a healthy sauce the whole family can enjoy over pasta, in lasagna, with meatballs, or even on pizza.

The tomatoes need to be peeled before cutting into quarters. The sauce has a few tomato chunks at the end, giving the sauce a rustic finish, but if you prefer a smoother sauce, you can begin with a finer chop of tomato and, when finished cooking, puree the sauce in a blender, food processor, or with an immersion blender.


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

  • 3/4 cup chopped onion

  • 3 cloves garlic (finely minced)

  • 4 cups peeled and quartered tomatoes (5 to 6 tomatoes)

  • 2 (8-ounce) cans tomato paste

  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano

  • 1 teaspoon dried basil

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1 teaspoon sugar

  • 1 leaf bay leaf

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Fresh Tomato Pasta Sauce ingredients

    The Spruce / Julia Estrada

  2. In a large saucepan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and saute for 5 minutes until tender.

    onions cooking with oil in a pan

    The Spruce / Julia Estrada

  3. Lower the heat to medium and add the garlic, sauteing for 1 to 2 minutes, making sure it does not brown.

    onions and garlic cooking in a pan

    The Spruce / Julia Estrada

  4. Add the remaining ingredients and bring to a simmer.

    pasta sauce ingredients in a pan

    The Spruce / Julia Estrada

  5. Lower the heat to keep at a simmer for 1 1/2 hours. If the sauce is splattering, partially cover the pot and adjust the heat to maintain a simmer.

    tomato sauce cooking in a pot

    The Spruce / Julia Estrada

  6. Remove and discard the bay leaf. Enjoy with your favorite pasta. You can also freeze for later use.

    Fresh Tomato Pasta Sauce in a pan

    The Spruce / Julia Estrada

How to Peel Tomatoes

Removing the peel from tomatoes makes for a smoother sauce. To peel tomatoes, you will need to blanch them in boiling water and then immediately cool them down in an ice-water bath (a bowl of ice and water). To make peeling easier, cut a shallow "x" in the bottom of each tomato. Gently lower the tomatoes into the boiling water and cook until you see the skins begin to wrinkle, which should be less than a minute. Using a slotted spoon, remove the tomatoes to the ice water bath, and once all of the tomatoes are cool, transfer to a cutting board. Peel away the skins using either your fingers or a paring knife.

Alternatively, you can roast the tomatoes in the oven or under the broiler. This will take more time and a watchful eye, but the skins will come off very easily, and roasting will impart an earthy flavor into your sauce.