Making a delicious tomato sauce for your pasta is all about having the right ingredients. The most important ingredient is, of course, tomatoes. Depending on the type of tomato sauce you are making, you may also need olive oil, garlic, onions, oregano, basil, and other spices.
Let’s look at what ingredients you’ll need for a basic tomato sauce for your pasta:
- Olive oil
- Other spices
Tomatoes are packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants and make the perfect base for any pasta sauce. Choosing a good quality tomato is essential for making an authentic, delicious sauce. If canned tomatoes are not available, use fresh tomatoes that have been peeled and seeded.
Fresh tomatoes – Select whichever type of fresh tomato you prefer: Roma (plum) tomatoes have fewer seeds and less juice than other varieties, so they make a thicker sauce that won’t get watery. Heirloom tomatoes can be used but may require more cooking time to break down.
Canned Tomatoes – Canned tomatoes come in either whole peeled or diced varieties and typically come in pureed or crushed variations as well. They are convenient because they require no preparation and provide a consistent flavor profile. Try and avoid canned diced tomatoes that contain added ingredients such as basil, oregano, garlic or onion because these can change the taste of your sauce significantly. If possible use organic canned varieties to avoid potential pesticides or chemicals in regular canned versions.
Onion is a key ingredient in many tomato sauces, adding flavor and texture. It is typically the first ingredient added to a saucepan when making a basic tomato sauce. Onions that are used in tomato sauce can range from off-white to light yellow in color and they can be puréed or chopped, depending on your desired consistency and preferred taste.
There are several types of onions that you can use for your tomato sauce that will contribute different flavor notes. For a sweeter flavor, you may choose to use yellow or white onions; for more spice or intense flavor, try Spanish onions; or for milder aromatics, go with shallots. No matter what type of onion you choose, it’s best to slowly sauté them over low to medium heat so that they slowly caramelize and sweeten without browning too quickly – as this will give your tomato sauce a burned taste.
When sautéeing the onions, be sure to stir them often so they do not burn or stick to the pan. If you’re using whole onions (rather than diced), add some small pieces of butter right at the very end of cooking time – this will help prevent any bitterness from occurring due to overcooking. After the onion has been cooked until translucent and fragrant (about 5 minutes), it is ready to be incorporated into your delicious homemade tomato sauce!
Garlic is a key ingredient for making a delicious and flavorful tomato sauce for pasta. When preparing your garlic, be sure to peel off the outer skin and finely mince it. Saute the minced garlic in olive oil until it is fragrant and soft, but not browned. When adding garlic to your tomato sauce, start with a small amount and taste as you add more until you have achieved the desired flavor. Take into consideration that garlic intensifies in flavor as it cooks, so adjust amounts as needed.
Olive oil is an essential part of making a nice tomato sauce for pasta, adding depth and flavor to the dish. The type of olive oil you use will depend on your taste. Extra-virgin olive oil has a robust flavor that might overpower the delicate taste of tomato and basil, so it’s best used for salads or when a stronger flavor is desired. Virgin olive oil, with its milder flavor, is better suited for tomato sauces. Experiment with different types of oils to find the one that tastes best with your dish.
Other types of edible oils can be used in place of olive oil, including vegetable and canola oils; however, using an olive-oil based product will offer more flavorful results. When cooking on medium to high heat it’s best to use refined or pure coconut oil or avocado oil as they have a higher smoke point than other oils, making them less likely to burn or turn bitter in taste when cooked at high temperatures.
Whatever type of edible oil you choose to cook with, make sure it’s fresh and stored properly in an airtight container away from heat and light sources such as sunlight and stoves.
When it comes to seasoning your tomato sauce, salt plays a key role in making the recipe flavorful and delicious. Balancing other flavors to bring out the best of your ingredients is all part of creating a great dish. As with any recipe, using the right amount of salt can do wonders for bringing out the flavor of the tomatoes in your sauce.
The type of salt you use is also important. A good quality fine grain sea salt or kosher salt is ideal for adding flavor to tomato sauces, as opposed to regular table salts which can add an overly salty taste to your food. If you’re not sure how much salt to add, start by adding a pinch and then adjust according to taste. Remember that some ingredients (such as anchovies) are naturally salty so you may not need as much added at the end as you think.
Pepper is an important ingredient in many tomato sauce recipes, adding a hint of spice and complexity to the finished dish. Black pepper is often the type used, but you can also experiment with white, green or pink peppercorns for variety.
When using pepper for tomato sauce, it’s best to add it early in the cooking process so that the heat of cooking extracts more flavor from the peppercorns. Depending on your tastes and desired level of spiciness, you can use anything from ⅛ teaspoon of finely ground pepper to 1 teaspoon (or more). Taste as you go to find a balance that works for you.
Herbs and Spices (optional)
The addition of herbs and spices to your tomato sauce can add complexity and depth of flavor. Most herbs will work well with this recipe, as do mild, warming spices like allspice, cinnamon and nutmeg. More pungent additions such as chilli peppers may overpower the subtle flavor of the canned tomatoes.
For most tomato sauces, dried herbs are preferable because their concentrated flavor will be evenly dispersed throughout the sauce. Garlic powder or crushed garlic is also a great way to add an extra layer of flavor without overpowering tastes of other ingredients in the dish.
Herbs to use:
- Parsley (as a garnish)
Spices to use:
Making a delicious tomato sauce for your pasta can be a great way to enhance the flavor of your meal and make it more enjoyable. The key to making a good sauce is to start with the right ingredients and to take some time to prepare them.
In this section, we’ll discuss the various steps that you should take to prepare a tomato sauce that will really bring out the flavors of your pasta:
- Choose the right tomatoes.
- Dice the tomatoes.
- Saute the tomatoes.
- Add seasonings.
- Simmer the sauce.
Peel and dice the onion and garlic
Peeling and dicing the onion and garlic is the first step in preparing a delicious tomato sauce for pasta. First, cut off both ends of the onion and then cut it in half lengthwise. Peel off the skin and discard it. Place one half of the onion cut side up on a cutting board. Slice it into 1/4-inch slices, then rotate it 90 degrees and repeat the slicing process until you have finely diced onions. Repeat these steps with a head of garlic: Cut off the top to expose cloves, peel away outer skins and finely mince or press cloves.
Set aside your minced onion and garlic while you gather other ingredients for your sauce. You will need:
- one can (14 ounces) whole peeled tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon olive oil or butter
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil (or 1 teaspoon dried basil)
- 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- salt and pepper to taste
Once you have all your ingredients gathered, heat your olive oil or butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add diced onions to the skillet, reduce heat to low and cook stirring occasionally until softened (about 3-4 minutes). Add minced garlic; cook stirring constantly for about 30 seconds before adding tomatoes along with any juice from can. Increase heat back to medium high; stir ingredients together breaking up tomatoes with a spoon as they cook.
Simmer uncovered until tomatoes have cooked down somewhat (about 10 minutes). Finally add fresh basil (or dried) along with Parmesan cheese; stir seasonings into sauce while continuing to simmer uncovered an additional 5 minutes more until desired consistency is reached. Taste test tomato sauce for seasoning adjustments adding salt pepper if desired before serving over cooked pasta noodles!
Heat the olive oil in a pan
Begin to heat the olive oil in a pan over a medium flame. Add diced onion, garlic, and other favored vegetables (such as red pepper flakes, celery or mushrooms). Sauté until they begin to brown and soften. Once complete, add a can of organic chopped tomatoes or use freshly diced tomatoes. Simmer ingredients for at least 10 minutes to combine flavors. If desired, add Italian seasonings such as basil, oregano and parsley.
Increase the heat while stirring the sauce frequently so that it does not stick to the bottom of the pan. Finally, season with sea salt and black pepper to taste and remove from heat when tomato sauce reaches the desired thickness. Allow time for flavors to blend before serving it over your favorite pasta or for additional recipes calling for tomato sauce or paste.
Add the onion and garlic to the pan and cook until softened
Begin making the sauce by adding one tablespoon of olive oil to a frying pan over medium heat. When the oil is heated through, add the chopped onion and garlic to the pan and cook until they are softened and lightly browned, about eight minutes. Stir frequently to prevent burning and add more oil if necessary.
After the onion and garlic have softened, season with salt, pepper, oregano, and basil.
Add the tomatoes and simmer for 10 minutes
When adding the tomatoes, you should use whole peeled tomatoes or crushed, tomato paste and follow the manufacturer’s instructions as to how much of each to add depending on how thick you want your sauce. Simmer the sauce for at least 10 minutes (or however long is recommended). This will allow the flavors to meld and intensify. Stir the sauce very often while it simmers in order to prevent any burning or sticking.
If you want a smoother texture, you can puree it before serving. If you do this, wait until near the end of simmering as it may require less simmering time if pureed first. Additionally, adding some red pepper flakes for a bit of spiciness is also an option that some people enjoy with their tomato sauce!
Add the salt, pepper, and herbs and spices (optional)
Once the garlic is golden and has released its aroma, you can add the tomato purée. Season with salt, pepper, and herbs and spices of your choice if desired. Examples of herbs and spices to use include oregano, basil, thyme, rosemary, black pepper flakes or red chilli pepper flakes (for a spicy option). Depending on your preference for flavor intensity and spice level, use amounts ranging from a pinch for subtle flavours to a teaspoon or tablespoon for stronger flavours.
Stir in the tomato purée so that it combines with all ingredients in the pan. Reduce heat to low-medium and simmer for 30 minutes to allow flavors to meld together, stirring occasionally. If sauce looks dry or starts sticking to the pan, add water 1 tablespoon at a time as needed; do not exceed ¼ cup total of liquid added during cooking process. The resulting sauce should be silky and rich-tasting.
Cooking a delicious tomato sauce for your favourite pasta dish is not as difficult as one might think. All you need is a few ingredients and the right techniques.
In this article, we’ll walk you through the simple steps that you can follow to make a tasty tomato sauce for your pasta in no time:
Bring the sauce to a boil
Bringing the tomato sauce to a boil helps to release flavor, reduce time of its cooking and achieve the desired thickness. The key is to bring it to boil quickly while stirring continuously. This will also help you avoid scorching or burning the sauce at the bottom of the pan. Additionally, when stirring, make sure that you are scraping down all sides and corners of your pot as this will help prevent lumps or clumps in your sauce.
As it comes to a simmer, adjust heat accordingly and add any additional seasonings such as garlic, basil or oregano. Continue cooking slowly until the desired thickness is reached which is usually about 15 to 20 minutes for most sauces. Serve over cooked pasta and enjoy!
Reduce the heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes
Once the vegetables have cooked for about 10 minutes, reduce the heat to low and add the remaining ingredients. Stir everything together and season with pepper and ground oregano. The last step is to cover the pot with a lid, but don’t lock it down completely – leave a little gap at the top so that some of the steam can escape. Simmer over low-medium heat for 15-20 minutes or until the sauce has thickened. Keep stirring every 5 minutes or so to prevent any sticking or burning on the bottom of your pan. Your tomato sauce is now ready! Adjust seasoning as needed before serving over your favorite pasta dish.
Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary
Once your sauce is cooked and reduced, it’s the perfect time to start tasting it. This is how you know if the seasoning is ok or if some adjustment needs to be done. It’s normal for it to need a bit more salt or even some pepper. Take your time and adjust the seasoning gradually, as salt can sometimes easily overpower a sauce.
Tasting your sauce before adding any starch-based foods (like pasta, potatoes, rice) will also make sure you won’t end up with a too salty dish! Try to have an idea of what the meal will taste like once everything is cooked and combined together so you can adjust accordingly.
You may also want to add some herbs or spices to enhance the flavor of the tomato sauce and elevate it. Some good options include:
- Chili powder
- Garlic powder
Keep in mind that dried herbs often have more intense aromas than fresh ones so add them judiciously depending on what type of taste you are going for.
Making a delicious tomato sauce for your pasta dish is an essential part of the meal. It can be served as a stand-alone dish or as a topping on your favorite pasta dishes. Serving your tomato sauce can range from traditional methods like heating it up and pouring it over your dish or an innovative twist like chilling it and serving it cold.
Let’s explore some of the ways you can serve your amazing tomato sauce:
Serve the sauce over cooked pasta
Once you have finished making the sauce, it is time to complete the meal. Remove the sauce from heat and let it cool slightly before you pour it over cooked pasta of your choice. Different pastas have different shapes and textures and will pair nicely with certain sauces. For example, long pastas like spaghetti or fettuccine are best with light tomato sauces or cream sauces, while short shapes like penne go better with a heavier ragu-style sauce or chunky vegetables dish.
If you plan ahead, you can cook the pasta while making your sauce so that they will both be ready at the same time. Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil and add one pound of dry pasta. Stir gently until there is enough water in the pot to cover all of the noodles; then cook to al dente according to package instructions, usually 10 to 12 minutes for most pastas. Once they are tender but still chewy, drain off any excess water and add them back into the pot. Pour in your tomato sauce and stir gently over low heat until all of the noodles are fully coated with sauce, about five minutes or so depending upon how thick it is.
Check for seasoning before serving; add more salt if needed as desired. Plate them up in individual bowls so everyone can enjoy this wonderful meal with plenty of Parmesan cheese on top!
Garnish with fresh herbs (optional)
Adding fresh herbs is an optional step in making a simple tomato sauce for pasta, but it can really add an extra special touch. Choose from any of your favorite herbs, such as basil or oregano. If you have access to a garden or a farmers’ market, then consider other herbs like rosemary, thyme, parsley and sage. Just remember that whichever herb you choose to use should be added at the very end of the sauce-making process; adding it too early can rob the aromatics of their freshness and flavor.
In order to garnish with fresh herbs, simply snip or chop the desired amount and sprinkle lightly over the finished pasta dish prior to serving. This will add an extra special layer of flavor and aroma that would otherwise be lacking from this simple tomato sauce recipe.
Enjoy your delicious homemade tomato sauce with fresh herbs for pasta!