Italian Tomato Sauce for Pasta


U.S. Metric Ingredients
8 fl oz 240 mL Olive oil (see Note)
4 oz 110 g Onion, chopped fine
4 oz 110 g Carrot, chopped fine
4 oz 110 g Celery, chopped fine
3 lb 1360 g Canned whole tomatoes
1 1 Garlic cloves, minced
½ oz 15 g Salt
tsp 7 mL Sugar



  1. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepot. Add the onions, carrots, and celery and sauté lightly for a few minutes. Do not let the vegetables brown.
  2. Add remaining ingredients. (See Appendix 2 for can sizes and substitutions.) Simmer, uncovered, about 45 minutes, until reduced and thickened.
  3. Pass through a food mill. Taste and adjust seasonings.
  4. For service, this sauce should be tossed with the freshly cooked spaghetti or other pasta in a bowl before being plated, rather than simply ladled over the pasta.

Per serving: Calories, 190; Protein, 1 g; Fat, 18 g (82% cal.); Cholesterol, 0 mg; Carbohydrates, 8 g; Fiber, 2 g; Sodium, 660 mg.


Omit onion, carrot, and celery. Reduce oil to 4 fl oz (120 mL). Add fresh chopped parsley and basil to taste.

Meat Sauce

Brown 1 lb (500 g) ground beef, ground pork, or a mixture of beef and pork, in oil or rendered pork fat. Add 4 fl oz (120 mL) red wine, 1 qt (1 L) tomato sauce, 1 pt (500 mL) beef or pork stock, and parsley, basil, and oregano to taste. Simmer 1 hour, uncovered.

Tomato Cream Sauce

Use 4 oz (110 g) butter instead of the olive oil in the basic recipe. At service time, add 1 cup heavy cream per quart of tomato sauce (250 mL per L). Bring to simmer and serve.

Tomato Sauce with Sausage

Slice lb (700 g) fresh Italian sausage and brown in oil. Drain and add to basic tomato sauce. Simmer 20 minutes.

Tomato Sauce with Sausage and Eggplant

Prepare like Tomato Sauce with Sausage, but use 12 oz (350 g) each sausage and peeled, diced eggplant.

Tomato Sauce with Ham and Rosemary

Cook 8 oz (220 g) ham, cut into fine dice, and 1 tbsp (15 mL) dried rosemary leaves in a little olive oil for a few minutes. Add to basic tomato sauce (after it has been passed through the food mill) and simmer 5 minutes.