Base Tomato Sauce for Pasta

I have had quite a few people asking me lately about tomato sauces for pasta. Generally everyone wants to know if there is a basic and failsafe recipe for a pasta sauce and the answer is absolutely. So this post I want to run through the basics the way I was taught and to be frank the rules are pretty simple and quite easy to remember. First of all lets start with some basic rules and facts.

  1. If you can not get fresh tomatoes then tinned tomatoes are fantastic. Look for the type that are tinned very quickly after they have been picked and remember that a single 400g tin is perfect for two people.
  2. If you are buying tinned then choose the style carefully. Crushed are great for fast sauces. Whole cherry or peeled are great if you want the sauce to retain some of the tomato pulp.
  3. When you use fresh preferable use Roma and when you do this six (6) roma tomatoes are the perfect amount for two people.
  4. The simplest proportions for a basic two person sauce are, 6 roma tomatoes, 2 garlic cloves crushed and a small red onion diced. Thats it.

Okay then now we have the basic rules in place lets work through putting it together. This couldn’t be easier. This sauce can be enhanced with fresh herbs, always at the end, meats like bacon or the filling from italian sausage, even a chilli or some olives. The variation is entirely up to you. But remember the basis of a tomato sauce is to carry the pasta, the pasta should always be the star so choose your pasta carefully as well.

Recipe: Base Tomato Sauce for Pasta


  • 6 roma tomatoes with the stem core removed and then diced
  • 1 small red onion finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves crushed


  1. Over medium heat in a fry pan soften the onion and garlic, you dont want it to colour
  2. Turn up the heat and toss in the chopped tomatoes and stir frequently
  3. As the tomato starts to break down lower the heat and simmer for 5 or 10 minutes and a sauce will form
  4. Add some of the pasta water before serving to loosen the sauce

Quick Notes

This is simple and quick and you can add your own ingredients for variations.


Add some chopped bacon while frying the onions and garlic Add fresh herbs like basil at the end just before serving Add a chilli for some spice

Cooking time (duration): 10

Diet type: Vegetarian

Diet (other): Low calorie

Number of servings (yield): 2

Meal type: dinner

Culinary tradition: Italian

My rating: 4 stars:  ★★★★☆ 1 review(s)

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