Basic tomato sauce (can be used as a base for lots of more complex sauces)

There’s nothing like a tomato sauce you’ve made fresh yourself, and even better to be able to make a stock of the good stuff to fridge or freeze for those times when you need to pull together a meal quickly. This is also a great way to put to use a glut of tomatoes that would otherwise risk being wasted.

No need for store-bought bottles of sauce or passata, no need for canned tomatoes – here we’re using fresh, ripe tomatoes, and revealing just what they’re capable of ūüėČ

Here’s two different takes on a basic tomato sauce that you can dress up or use as a base for a more complex dish…

Yields: Enough sauce to use in a main meal for 4

Scale up quantities using the same ratios if you want to make enough to feed more people or to store and use later


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1kg ripe tomatoes (often the best tomatoes for this are the ones marked down for quick sale, as they’re as ripe as they’ll ever get, and need to be used within a day or two)
  • 2 cloves of garlic,¬†finely minced
  • half teaspoon salt – add more to taste if you like it salty
  • half teaspoon¬†sugar – I use rapadura or palm sugar, but raw cane sugar would do just fine

#1: Chunky sauce


  1. Boil a pot of water – as much or as little as you need to just barely cover the¬†number of tomatoes you’re planning to peel
  2. Core your tomatoes by sliding your knife around the core about half and inch to an inch deep (depending on how big the tomato is, thus how deep the core goes), and slide out the core – it should be cone-shaped – this way you’ll lose very little of your tomato
  3. Pop your tomatoes into your boiling water, and wait for the skins to loosen – you’ll see them go wrinkly and split – this should take 5 minutes or less
  4. Take off the heat, and gently lift out your tomatoes with a slotted spoon, leaving them on a plate to cool (you could plunge them into ice water if you need to work fast)
  5. Once your tomatoes are cool enough to handle, you can simply slide the skins off gently, et voila – you’re done!
  6. Roughly chop your tomatoes, and set aside
  7. Mince your garlic, and toss it in a saucepan with the olive oil – turn the heat to medium, and cook for just 1 minute
    • Amateur tip: see here for how to mince your garlic to a fine paste – it’s so simple, you’ll never go back to chunky chopped garlic!
  8. Toss in your chopped tomatoes, stir through, and add the salt and sugar
  9. Cook until reduced to a thick, tasty sauce
  10. Use immediately in any tomato-based stew or pasta sauce, or pop in the fridge or freezer for future use once cooled and transferred to bottles or jars

#2: Smooth sauce


  1. Follow steps 1-8 for the chunky sauce
  2. Cook chunky sauce over medium heat for 5 minutes
  3. Push chunky tomato sauce through sieve Рtry to squeeze as much juice out as possible
  4. Reduce sauce further over medium heat until it’s thick enough to¬†use as sauce for spaghetti (shouldn’t take more than about 5 minutes)
  5. Use immediately in any tomato-based pasta sauce, or pop in the fridge or freezer for future use once cooled and transferred to bottles or jars

One thought on “Basic tomato sauce (can be used as a base for lots of more complex sauces)

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