Homemade Sunday (Tomato) Sauce

5 from 1 vote
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This is my big batch of Sunday Sauce! I love making a big batch of tomato sauce on Sunday and using it throughout the week. It’s great to have on hand and I use it in so many of my recipes. Every recipe that you will find on the internet for tomato sauce will be different and I think it really comes down to how you were taught to make it.

My mom taught me how to make this simple tomato sauce years and years ago and I have been making it for a good 15 years now (maybe even longer!). It’s my husband and kids favourite thing to eat and like I mentioned, I use tomato sauce in so many of my recipes, so having a big batch of homemade on hand makes things so much easier throughout the week!

Now, I have made sauce in many different ways but I always come back to this version because I find it is the most flavourful and this version reminds me most of my mom’s and my Nonna’s so that’s what I’m sticking with. I’ve roasted and sautéed roma tomatoes and made a sauce out of them and while I love that way for certain dishes, I prefer buying jarred tomatoes that are grown in Italy and creating a sauce that way. Down below I will share all of my tips so hopefully they help you create the perfect tomato sauce in your own home!

Looking for more Italian recipes?

Looking for more Italian Classics? I will leave a few personal favourites linked down below:

My tips before getting started

I usually buy Mutti or San Marnzano jarred or canned tomatoes, something with only tomatoes as the ingredient (and sometimes a little salt), and they have to be grown in Italy. No exceptions here. Be sure to read the back of your can or jar of tomatoes as it will tell you where the tomatoes have been grown.

I always like to cook my tomato sauce for about two hours. Since tomatoes (even in the jar or can) contain so much water, cooking it slowly over an extended period of time will help eliminate excess water in the tomatoes and reduce it, creating a very rich, full bodied, delicious, flavourful tomato sauce.

I always like to start with a heavy amount of extra virgin olive oil (more than you think you would add) as it adds such great flavour to the sauce. Before adding the tomatoes I like to fry some carrot and red pepper which will remain in the tomato sauce while you cook it. This is going to add a sweetness to the sauce and avoid tasting any bitterness the tomatoes may have. Right before you throw in your tomatoes I like to add some whole cloves of garlic just to infuse the olive oil with flavour, but you need to ensure you don’t burn the garlic as that will alter the flavour of the tomato sauce. Just give it a light fry for a minute or two and then get those tomatoes into your pot. (I don’t let the garlic get very brown, just a few spots may turn golden but you’re trying to lightly sauté the garlic here).

Let it simmer for about an hour (covered) and then give it a good stir and continue to cook it for an additional hour (uncovered). When you are on your last 20 minutes of cooking this is when I like to add my basil and salt. I always recommend waiting to salt your tomato sauce towards the end of the cooking time as the flavour of the tomatoes change significantly over the two hours, so adding the salt at the end will ensure the best seasoning for the sauce. (I’ve salted the sauce at the beginning in the past and after the two hour cooking time I was left with a really salty sauce so its best to wait until nearly the end. It can also alter the flavour of the sauce if you add it at the beginning).

Substitutions & FAQ’s

What type of pasta is best with a tomato sauce?
I think everyone’s answer here will be different but I like to keep it really simple with spaghetti; it’s just such a classic and one of my all-time favourite meals.

What can I use the tomato sauce in other than spaghetti?
I use my tomato sauce when I make pizza, soups, stew, zucchini parmigiana, meatball subs, chicken parm, and any other recipe that calls for tomato sauce!

Storing & reheating

Can I freeze the tomato sauce?
Absolutely! That’s one of the main reasons I make a big tomato sauce every Sunday! It allows me to use it throughout the entire week! I usually put some in my fridge to use over a couple of days but if I know I’m not going to use it within a day or two, I pop it into a freezer safe ziplock bag and freeze it.

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5 from 1 vote

Homemade Sunday (Tomato) Sauce

This is my homemade tomato sauce that my family has been making for decades. It's simple, fresh, flavourful and can be used in a variety of different dishes! Every Sunday we eat a big plate of spaghetti and cover it with the beautiful sauce. I hope you love this one as much as my family and I all do.
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 2 hours
Servings: 6

Ingredients 

  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 5x 680mL Italians tomatoes, jarred or canned (about 14 cups)
  • 3 large cloves garlic
  • 1 large carrot, peeled
  • 1/2 large red pepper
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 heaping tsp salt , or more
  • fresh basil

Instructions 

  • Begin by grabbing a large deep pan and setting it to medium heat.
  • Add your olive oil, and once hot add your carrot and red pepper.
  • Sauté on medium heat for 6 to 7 minutes flipping over halfway. The goal here is to lightly brown the veggies to add flavour to the sauce as it cooks.
  • Reduce heat to low/medium and add your dried oregano, chilli flakes, and whole garlic cloves. Saute for 1-2 minutes just until the garlic begins to brown. DO NOT burn the garlic.
  • Add your can or jars of tomatoes to the pan. Once you have emptied your can or jars into the pan make sure to add 2-3 tbsp of water to each and shake it ensuring all the tomatoes left on the sides get poured into the pan, along with the water.
  • Bring your tomatoes to a light boil and cook for 5 minutes.
  • Reduce heat to simmer, cover and let cook for one hour.
  • At the one hour mark take the lid off give it a stir and simmer for an additional hour uncovered.
  • When you have about 15 minutes left of cooking time, add a large handful of fresh basil and salt. Stir and taste here in case you need to add more salt.
  • Remove your whole garlic cloves, red pepper, carrot, and basil from the sauce.
  • If you are making spaghetti (or any pasta) mix this sauce right in, top with more sauce, and be sure to add a mountain of parmigiano reggiano, chilli fakes and fresh basil.
  • Enjoy right away!

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours
Course: Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 6

About Sammy Montgoms

I am so glad you are here. I am a BIG foodie gal. I am one of those people who lives to eat, rather than eats to live. I love to create nostalgic Italian dishes (especially pasta), but I also love to whip up simple and quick recipes for my family. Hopefully, my page inspires you to do the same. Thank you for being here, and happy eating!

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10 Comments

  1. Can’t wait to try this recipe but wanted to let you know you’ve got some extraneous text right in the middle of your descriptions above the recipe. You may want to remove that!

    1. Yes I took it out! My followers on instagram told me. I was clearly listening to a video while using voice to text and it was added in. Thank you so much for bringing this to my attention though! xo

    1. I take the pepper and carrot out before adding the pasta to the sauce. It’s there just for flavour.

  2. Do you use whole tomatoes? Tomato purée? Crushed tomatoes? Can’t wait to make this but just want to make sure I do it right

    1. I use what I have on hand but usually I do a combination of crushed and pureed! Let me know if you have any other questions.

  3. Not the greatest cook here, so excuse this possibly dumb question:
    Do you leave the carrot and red pepper whole? It doesn’t say, and your video won’t play for me.
    Help!

    1. Not a silly question at all! I take it out at the end, before serving! I take the garlic, pepper and carrot out! Hope this helps.