Sauces and Dressings

Authentic Italian Tomato Sauce – Quick, Easy & Delicious

July 20, 2018

An easy Italian tomato sauce made from scratch with just 5 ingredients in only 10 minutes! This tomato sauce is perfect for pasta, pizza or simply for dunking some char-grilled ciabatta into. It’s SO rich in flavour it’ll be your new go-to tomato sauce.

Italian tomato sauce in a saucepan with two slices of ciabatta bread

I am seriously in love with this Italian tomato sauce. It’s packed with so much flavour that I literally eat it by the spoonful and if there’s a loaf of ciabatta bread near by….it’ll be gone in 5 minutes flat.

It’s made with simple, everyday ingredients that you probably already have in your kitchen and can be used for so many dishes! All you need is some spaghetti to toss with it and dinner in done or spread it on a pizza base to create a Pizza Marinara (no mozzarella necessary) ughh heaven.

Tips For Making Italian Tomato Sauce

I say this ALL the time but it’s so true, you NEED to buy the best quality ingredients for this to work. There are two ingredients in particular that would ruin this tomato sauce if they were low quality (don’t say I didn’t warn ya).

  • Tomatoes – You can’t make the best Italian tomato sauce with rubbish tomatoes, right? I use crushed canned tomatoes for this quick 10 minute recipe and the only tomatoes I recommend that are easy to find almost anywhere are Cirio. I used their crushed canned tomatoes and all you need is ONE can.
  • Why? – Not only are Cirio canned tomatoes great quality but the cans aren’t full of water like many cheap cans…that just ain’t gonna add flavour to your sauce at all! And have you ever tasted that metallic, tinny taste with canned tomatoes..yuck! You don’t get that with Cirio tomatoes so they are so worth the extra pennies.
  • Balsamic Vinegar – I add the tiniest splash of high quality balsamic and it totally transforms this sauce. Real balsamic vinegar is so sweet and delicious you could eat it by the spoon. It should come in a small bottle (the size of a perfume bottle) and be slightly thick. It should say “Aceto Balsamico di Modena” on the bottle so you know it’s the real stuff. A little goes a long way and it’s so worth the investment…I couldn’t live without it if I’m honest.

How To Make Authentic Italian Tomato Sauce – Step By Step

A around 1 tbsp of olive oil to a medium sized saucepan, once it starts to sizzle add chopped garlic and dried oregano. Fry for 30 seconds then add 1 tsp of balsamic vinegar and freshly chopped parsley and basil (photos 1-3).

 

Step by step photos for making authentic Italian tomato sauce

Fry the herbs and garlic for another 30 seconds (this helps release all the delicious flavours from the herbs) then add a can of chopped tomatoes with 1/2 tsp sugar and a pinch of salt. Add 2 tbsp of water to the empty tomato can, swirl to get as much leftover tomato as possible and add that to the sauce (photos 4 & 5).

Stir everything together, after 1 minute use a potato masher to crush the tomatoes and break them down as much as possible (it will still be a rustic style sauce and not completely smooth) then simmer for 7-8 minutes stirring occasionally, turn off the heat and check for seasoning (photo 6).

Extra Tips

  • If making this sauce for pasta reserve a little pasta cooking water and add a splash of two to the sauce just before you add the pasta. This helps emulsify the sauce and adds a ton of extra flavour.
  • When you’ve finished cooking the sauce check for seasoning and if it need more salt add some a little at a time. Remember you can always add salt but can’t take it out.
  • Use this as a base for many tomato based sauces, you could add different herbs and spices such as fennel seeds, pepperoncino (chilli flakes), fresh chilly and rosemary.

Italian tomato sauce in a sauce pan garnished with basil and two slices of ciabatta bread at the side

More Authentic Italian Recipes You Might Like;

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Step By Step Photos AboveMost of our recipes come with step by step photos, helpful tips and tricks to make it perfectly first time and even video!
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5 from 7 votes

Authentic Italian Tomato Sauce

An easy Italian tomato sauce made from scratch with just 5 ingredients in only 10 minutes! This tomato sauce is perfect for pasta, pizza or simply for dunking some char-grilled ciabatta into.
Course sauce
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 2 minutes
Cook Time 8 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Servings 4 servings*
Calories 51kcal
Author Emily Kemp

Ingredients

Instructions

  • A around 1 tbsp of olive oil to a medium sized saucepan, once it starts to sizzle add chopped garlic and dried oregano. Fry for 30 seconds then add 1 tsp of balsamic vinegar and freshly chopped parsley and basil.
  • Fry the herbs and garlic for another 30 seconds (this helps release all the delicious flavours from the herbs) then add a can of chopped tomatoes with 1/2 tsp sugar and a pinch of salt.
  • Add 2 tbsp of water to the empty tomato can, swirl to get as much leftover tomato as possible and add that to the sauce.
  • Stir everything together, after 1 minute use a potato masher to crush the tomatoes and break them down as much as possible (it will still be a rustic style sauce and not completely smooth) 
  • Simmer for 7-8 minutes stirring occasionally, turn off the heat and check for seasoning.

Notes

  • *Makes enough to serve 4 with pasta (with an added splash of pasta water) or as a base for two large pizzas (serves 4-6).
  • Tomatoes - You can't make the best Italian tomato sauce with rubbish tomatoes, right? I use crushed canned tomatoes for this quick 10 minute recipe and the only tomatoes I recommend that are easy to find almost anywhere are Cirio. I used their crushed canned tomatoes and all you need is ONE can.
  • Why? - Not only are Cirio canned tomatoes great quality but the cans aren't full of water like many cheap cans...that just ain't gonna add flavour to your sauce at all! And have you ever tasted that metallic, tinny taste with canned tomatoes..yuck! You don't get that with Cirio tomatoes so they are so worth the extra pennies.
  • Balsamic Vinegar - I add the tiniest splash of high quality balsamic and it totally transforms this sauce. Real balsamic vinegar is so sweet and delicious you could eat it by the spoon. It should come in a small bottle (the size of a perfume bottle) and be slightly thick. It should say "Aceto Balsamico di Modena" on the bottle so you know it's the real stuff. A little goes a long way and it's so worth the investment...I couldn't live without it if I'm honest.
  • Extra Tips

    • If making this sauce for pasta reserve a little pasta cooking water and add a splash of two to the sauce just before you add the pasta. This helps emulsify the sauce and adds a ton of extra flavour.
    • When you've finished cooking the sauce check for seasoning and if it need more salt add some a little at a time. Remember you can always add salt but can't take it out.
    • Use this as a base for many tomato based sauces, you could add different herbs and spices such as fennel seeds, pepperoncino (chili flakes), fresh chilly and rosemary.
 

Nutrition

Calories: 51kcal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Fat: 3g | Sodium: 143mg | Potassium: 186mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 230IU | Vitamin C: 10.7mg | Calcium: 35mg | Iron: 1.1mg
Helpful Info for All Recipes
  • I always use extra virgin olive oil in all of my recipes unless stated otherwise
  • When I use canned or jarred tomatoes of any kind I always use this brand for the best results and flavour
  • All vegetables are medium sized unless stated otherwise
  • All recipes are tested and developed using a fan oven
  • Find out more about how nutrition is calculated here
  • Check out our must have Italian Pantry Staples here
  • You can also find all our Essential Kitchen Tools for Italian Cooking here
Did you try this recipe?Mention @insidetherustickitchen or tag #insidetherustickitchen! We'd love you see what you're getting up to in the kitchen!

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14 Comments

  • Reply
    Ayanna
    August 22, 2019 at 7:56 pm

    That was absolutely delicious! First time trying a tomato sauce from scratch 🙂 I threw in a stock cube for a little more flavour and thickness.5 stars

  • Reply
    Cynthia
    June 7, 2019 at 9:14 pm

    I just made a batch to use as pizza sauce for dinner and I am fairly certain that my local pizza place uses a recipe very similar to this, which has me beyond excited to try it tonight! Thank you x1000!5 stars

  • Reply
    Tara @ Unsophisticook
    July 20, 2018 at 3:54 pm

    This is just the way I love my tomato sauce — thick and chunky!5 stars

    • Reply
      Inside the rustic kitchen
      July 20, 2018 at 3:58 pm

      Me too and it’s so easy to thin down with pasta water so you’ve got the best of both worlds!

  • Reply
    Caroline
    July 20, 2018 at 3:35 pm

    I love all the tips, this looks like one truly delicious sauce!5 stars

  • Reply
    Kristine
    July 20, 2018 at 3:32 pm

    Well doesn’t this look incredible?! Gorgeous photos too! Pinning this to make!5 stars

  • Reply
    Traci
    July 20, 2018 at 3:28 pm

    I absolutely love to make tomato sauce from scratch. I love that touch of balsamic vinegar you used…I’ll have to give that a try! Just pinned…thanks for the recipe 🙂5 stars

    • Reply
      Inside the rustic kitchen
      July 20, 2018 at 3:59 pm

      It’s the best, oh you should definitely try it it makes such a difference! Thanks so much Traci!

  • Reply
    Molly
    July 20, 2018 at 2:47 pm

    This recipe is making me so hungry. Thanks for posting.5 stars

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