Tomato Sauce from Fresh Tomatoes

Tomato Sauce from fresh tomatoes is a simple Italian tasty sauce made with few simple ingredients. Called in Italy Salsa di Pomodoro, this luscious sauce is perfect to season any type of pasta.

While store-bought options offer convenience, nothing quite compares to the rich, vibrant flavors that emanate from a homemade tomato sauce crafted from fresh, ripe tomatoes!

The best time to make it, is in summer when the tomatoes are fully ripe, tasty and fragrant.

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You can choose the variety of tomatoes you prefer to make it, like San Marzano tomatoes or vine tomatoes. You could even use small but very tasty tomatoes like cherry tomatoes or grape tomatoes.

For an excellent tomato sauce, the first thing to do is to make the passata at home.

Once you have made the tomato passata you need to flavor the sauce with chopped vegetables, or garlic cloves, or onion and continue cooking until you get the right density! Finally add fresh erbs or spices.

When the tomato sauce from fresh tomatoes is ready you can use it to season many pasta shapes, such as classic spaghetti, or macaroni and penne!

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How to Make Tomato Sauce from Fresh Tomatoes

  • Prep Time:10 Min
  • Cook Time: 40 Min
  • Servings: 4


  • 1 Kg (2,2 pounds) of very ripe red tomatoes (San Marzano or cluster tomatoes)
  • 2 or 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onion or shallot
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 5 – 6 fresh basil leaves
  • oregano
  • 1 teaspoon of sugar
  • a pinch of fine salt


tomato passata recipe step 1

Step 1) – First thing first wash the tomatoes under running water. Then place them in a bowl and start cutting in half.

tomato passata recipe step 2

Step 2) – With a knife, remove the seeds and all the internal part of the tomato, as to make small tomato boats. Now place them in a pot and cook over low heat, covered with a lid. Stir from time to time and cook for about 20 minutes.

tomato passata step 3

Step 3)– When the tomatoes are cooked, crush them with a food mill to remove all the skin and make a tomato puree.. Food mills usually include 3 grinding discs for preparing foods of fine, medium and coarse textures.

Now, it depends on your tastes, so choose which type of consistency you like for your tomato sauce and smash them accordingly. Anyway, we chose the disc with the largest holes.

For now you have made only what we in Italy call the tomato passata. Now let’s start cooking the tomato sauce made with fresh tomatoes.

tomato sauce step 4

Step 4) – Now let’s make the soffritto. Finely chop the onion (or shallot). In a saucepan, sautè the garlic clove (whole and without peel) and the onion in extra virgin olive oil over low heat for 2/3 minutes.

tomato sauce step 5

Step 5) – Add the tomato passata. Stir and season with salt to taste and 1 teaspoon of sugar, which is necessary to lower the acidity of the tomatoes.

Cook for 15 minutes over medium heat, stirring occasionally, making sure that the sauce does not burn. If necessary, reduce the heat to low.

IMPORTANT: cover with a glass lid (it retains heat and moisture; you can easily follow the cooking and gradually add seasonings, spices or water if necessary). 

tomato sauce step 6

Step 6) – When the tomato sauce with fresh tomatoes is ready, with the heat off, add the basil leaves and, if you like, even a little oregano.

Use this basic tomato sauce recipe for seasoning pasta or in addition to the ingredients of your special recipes.

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How to Store Fresh Homemade Tomato Sauce (Pomodoro Sauce)

You can keep fresh tomato sauce in glass containers (jars or special glass food containers), placed in the refrigerator for 2/3 days, in the freezer for up to a month.

Tomato sauce can be safely frozen. To freeze it you can use glass jars (taking care not to fill them completely) or the special food containers.

When you want to defrost it, take it out of the refrigerator and put it in the fridge for a few hours, so that the thermal shock does not break the glass (especially glass jars during the summer). Then defrost it completely at room temperature or in the microwave.

How to Make Tomato Sauce from Fresh Tomatoes in 10 Minutes

Are you short on time and want to make a tomato sauce with fresh tomatoes ready in 10 minutes? Here’s how to do it!

10 minutes tomato sauce step 1

Step 1) – First, cut the tomatoes into pieces and put them in a bowl with a pinch of fine salt, so that they release their water. Stir and set aside.

Meanwhile, in a large frying pan, put 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil and a peeled clove of garlic. We have decided for a very simple and quick soffritto but if you prefer, you can add as many cloves of garlic as you want and also some chopped onion.

Sautè the garlic in oil for 2 minutes over high heat. Tilt the pan a little so that the garlic is completely submerged in the oil. It’s quicker.

10 minutes tomato sauce step 2

Step 2) – Now add the tomatoes and cover with a glass lid. Cook for 5/7 minutes over high heat, stirring occasionally. Be careful not to burn the tomatoes; check often through the glass lid.

10 minutes tomato sauce step 3

Step 3) – At the end of cooking, season with fine salt, remove the garlic and add aromatic herbs to your liking (we recommend basil, oregano or bay leaf, preferably fresh). If you want to remove the seeds and the peel of the tomato, just pass the sauce in a vegetable mill, using the disc supplied with the smaller holes.

Tomato sauce with fresh tomatoes is now ready in just 10 minutes and you can season any type of pasta, even fresh homemade pasta such as tagliatelle.

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3 thoughts on “Tomato Sauce from Fresh Tomatoes”

  1. Seems a crime to waste the internal parts of the tomato..isn’t that where all the umami is? What do you think of adding a few fresh tomato leaves to simmer with the passata, removing them when it is done?

    • Whenever I have worked with San Marzano tomatoes, I too, remove the insides. The real meat of that type of tomato is in the walls and adding the extra, really does water it down and require more cooking and more straining to acquire a true passata like this. And wow! I’ve never thought of tomato leaves! What would that do for the sauce? Really interested in your thoughts on the leaves.

  2. Thank you for the delicious recipe for sauce made with fresh tomatoes. I added a small can of tomato paste to thicken liquid and a little wine. Fresh herbs from the garden! Will definitely make this again.


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