Many of us buy pasta sauce in the supermarkets because it’s convenient and fuss-free. However, most of these sauces, even the freshly made ones, are loaded with sugar and/or additives! Actually simple, everyday pasta sauce is so easy to make! There are hundreds of recipes, using fresh or tinned tomatoes – this example of a homemade pasta sauce is super easy and very tasty! I normally add a carrot and/or a red pepper to make it sweeter (instead of using sugar), and use whatever herbs I have available. You can also add grated courgette, spinach, spices etc to make it even more flavoursome. It’s worth making double or triple the amount you need then chilling or freezing 500 ml batches for midweek meals such a as pasta, stew, meatballs, soups and so on.
- 1 onion
- 2 tins of plum tomatoes (800g) or 1 litre passata
- 2 garlic cloves
- 2 Tbsps. olive oil
- 1 Tbsp tomatoes purée
- 1 carrot
- 1 red pepper
- 1 tsp brown sugar (optional)
- Dash of red wine or balsamic vinegar
- A handful of your chosen herb (basil, parsley, coriander, thyme or mint all work well)
How to make easy tomato pasta sauce
- Peel and finely chop the onion and garlic. Chop the carrots and red pepper if used.
- Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the onion and garlic and gently sauté for 5-8 minutes over low heat (add the chopped pepper and carrots too, if used).
- When the onion is softened, add the tomato purée, stir for a few seconds, then add the tinned tomatoes or passata. Season with salt and pepper. Add a small glass of water if it’s too thick (if Passata is used, this shouldn’t be necessary).
- Add the sugar and balsamic vinegar, if used (this is not needed if you’re making the sauce with carrots and/or peppers).
- Cook for about 25 minutes until you get a thick sauce.
- Add the herbs and using an electric blender, whiz for a minute or so, until you get a smooth, silky sauce.
- If you don’t use the sauce immediately, let it cool and pour into sterilized jars, then keep in the fridge. Alternatively pour it into plastic container and freeze. If you don’t have any fresh herbs – use dried mixed Italian herbs (1 tsp), or oregano/marjoram. Add this to the sautéed vegetables just before the tomato purée.
- Sometimes I add a bay leaf too, but this needs to be removed before blending.
- This homemade pasta sauce makes an excellent broth too – just mix it with some vegetable or chicken stock et voilà you have an easy and healthy tomato soup!
- I sometimes like it spicy so I add some chilli flakes or chopped chilli to the sautéed mix (sometime I add ground cumin, coriander, paprika and oregano, which makes an excellent base for Mexican-style dishes)
- If you want to make an interesting and delicious version try this spiced roast tomato sauce recipe!