There are three ways to make and/or prepare an Italian tomato sauce, all of which I have used. This blog post focuses on homemade fresh Italian pasta sauce using fresh tomatoes right from the garden!
1. Buy a jar of prepared sauce and serve. This method is my least favorite, but it is easy and worth it if you find a sauce you really like.
As with any prepackaged food, be careful of the sodium content.
2. Make your own sauce using store bought cans of tomatoes. This is my most common method of making sauce. I make a large batch and freeze most of it.
You can grab my recipe here: https://www.simpleitaliancooking.com/recipes/italian_marinara_sauce_recipe.htm
3. Lastly, make your own sauce using fresh tomatoes – nothing is prepackaged or processed. This is my favorite method for a real fresh Italian sauce and can truly only be made towards the mid or end of summer when and if you are growing your own tomatoes. This year I didn’t have enough tomatoes (another blog), but my mother-in-law had some great big ones that I used – some are shown below.
I’ll show you the steps by photos (sorry didn’t do video), and you’ll see that it isn’t very hard at all. A bit time consuming and not something you want to do if you are in a rush. I’m not going to give you any quantities either to really follow b/c I don’t know how many tomatoes you have. I used about 5 or 6 tomatoes and 4 of them are shown above.
- Fresh tomatoes
- Fresh garlic chopped (I sliced mine this time)
- Fresh onion chopped
- Fresh basil (preferred)
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Food mill
Instructions to Make a Fresh Italian Tomato Pasta Sauce:
1. Chop all your tomatoes and place in a sauce pan. I use my Cuisinart French Classic Stainless 5-1/2-Quart Saute Pan which you can get at Amazon .
2. Cook at medium heat until the tomatoes have fully cooked down and the majority of the water is evaporated.
This is one of those times when you’ll know when you see it. Although it drove me bonkers when my mother in law said those words to me as all I could imagine was burnt tomatoes in my pan and saying, well she said till no water is left.
What this actually means is that the consistency looks like a tomato sauce, not watery. The tomatoes will get very soft and it is super easy to pierce them. In fact, the tomatoes will actually just fall apart. If you ever cooked stewed tomatoes you will know what I mean.
3. Next, pull out your food mill and place over a large empty bowl as shown below.
We use a stainless steel one which is heavy duty and I know will last us a very long time. You can find many different sizes and kinds of stainless steel food mills online, like at Amazon.
The one we have shown below is a Cuisipro Deluxe Food Mill, and although it cost us a pretty penny, I know we’ll have it for ages.
4. Add in the tomatoes and work it until the skins are fully removed and dry and the juice is in the bowl
5. Once done with the food mill, saute some garlic and onion in the extra virgin olive oil for about 3 or 4 minutes until translucent
6. Add in your fresh tomatoes and simmer for about 30-45 minutes until you have the consistency you want and flavor has cooked through
7. Tear the basil into pieces and add into the sauce. You can see in my photos above that the sauce has cooked down some. It took some time, but it was the best batch. I ended up not freezing any of it as we used it up throughout the week.
This type of Italian tomato sauce is not a heavy sauce, rather it is lighter and works well with thin pasta such as angel hair or capellini.
As for recommendations for side dishes, geez, go with fresh Italian bread and a nice salad! For dessert what else but gelato!
Let me know your tips and tricks for making your own Italian sauce! I’d love to hear from you.