Basic Fresh Tomato Sauce

August and September are tomato harvest season in the East, when thousands of cooks pack summer’s bounty into jars of fruity tomato sauce to last them the whole year. This sauce freezes well and can also be canned.

Serves: 6Hands-on: 10 minutesTotal: 1 hourDifficulty: Easy

Serves: 6


  • 4 lbs. Roma tomatoes
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 large onion, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. tomato paste
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ¼ tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1 cup chopped basil leaves


  • Halve the tomatoes and squeeze out as many seeds as you can. Dice the tomatoes.
  • Heat the olive oil in a large nonreactive saucepan or Dutch oven over medium heat until hot enough to sizzle when a piece of onion is added. Add the onions; cook until soft and beginning to brown slightly, about 10 minutes. Stir in the garlic, sugar, and tomato paste; cook 2 minutes more, stirring constantly. Add the tomatoes; cook 10 minutes until mixture becomes brothy.
  • Uncover, lower heat to a slow simmer, and cook 30 minutes more until all tomatoes are fully softened; add salt, pepper, and basil.