Fresh Tomato Sauce

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Makes about

    1.2 litres

Appears in


This is one of the most useful and also one of the best tasting sauces of all. This recipe is a simple version I have devised, and I think it is hard to beat. It can either be used on its own or as a base for other sauces. A good tomato sauce goes with every kind of ingredient from meat, fish and vegetables to pasta. When you don’t have time to make this sauce, use the quick tomato sauce that uses canned tomatoes.

The best fresh tomatoes for cooking are the plum variety, if you can get them, and I only use the ones that are really ripe and deep red; when plum tomatoes are in season, make a large quantity of sauce and freeze it in separate containers. Mix in 25–50 g (1–2 oz) butter at the end for a richer sauce. And, if the tomatoes you are using are not really ripe and full of flavour, stir in 1 tablespoon tomato puree.

It doesn’t make much difference to the colour of the finished sauce if you substitute white wine for red. Finely shredded fresh basil is a wonderful addition stirred in just before serving.

  1. Melt 50 g (1 oz) butter with 4 tablespoons olive oil in a large saucepan. Add 3–4 large chopped garlic cloves, 1 kg (1 lb) skinned and chopped tomatoes, 150 ml (14 pint) red wine, 1 teaspoons caster sugar and a little salt.

  2. Bring to the boil, then simmer over a low heat, stirring often, for 10–30 minutes until the tomatoes are completely mushy and the sauce thickens as desired. Season to taste with crushed sea salt and plenty of freshly ground black pepper.