sugo di pomodoro (italian tomato sauce)

by sj

Such simplicity, such flavour, bursting with tomatoes and garlic, a hint of herbs, and 1000x better than something from a jar or can (pretty sure that’s a real statistic.) This sauce is incredibly simple to make, there really is no excuse to be buying those overly seasoned, overly thick, pasty, sweet sauces any more. Not only is this phenomenal on it’s own, it serves as the base for many other recipes we’ll share with you down the road, arrabiata sauce, fra diavolo, bolognese, pomodoro e basilico (tomato-basil sauce), and not just sauces! Minestrone, tomato florentine soup, stir in some tomato paste for pizza sauce….It’s definitely worth making extra and freezing it for later.

sugo di pomodoro (italian tomato sauce)

Such simplicity, such flavour, bursting with tomatoes and garlic, a hint of herbs, and 1000x better than something from a jar or can… 10 items or less sugo di pomodoro (italian tomato sauce) European make it paper
yield: about 2 quarts Prep Time: Cooking Time:
Nutrition facts: 200 calories 20 grams fat
rating 5.0/5
( 3 voted )


1.6kg | 52oz (2 large cans) of whole peeled roma tomatoes

200g _ ½ a large white or yellow (non sweet) onion, quartered

15-30g | 1-2 Tbsp chopped garlic

3g | ½ tsp fine salt*

16g | 2 tsp italian seasoning

10g | 1 tsp dark bouillon paste**

14-28g/15-30ml | 1-2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil (optional)


Instant pot/electric pressure cooker:

Add everything to pot in this order: onion, italian seasoning, tomatoes, bouillon, garlic, olive oil, salt

Lock lid and set to 8 minutes high pressure, allow to go for 10 minutes before release (if it doesn’t release naturally)

Remove onion from sauce and puree, blend, or process until you have a coarse sauce with no large pieces

Can be stored in the refrigerator for 3-4 days or frozen up to 3 months  


Add everything to large stockpot and bring to a light boil, reduce heat to simmer, cover and cook (stirring occasionally) until onions are completely translucent, around 30-45 minutes

Remove from heat, remove onions and puree, blend, or process until you have a coarse sauce with no large pieces

Can be stored in the refrigerator for 3-4 days or frozen up to 3 months


*salt may be different based on taste and how salty your canned tomatoes are, you can always add this to taste after cooking until you’re familiar with the tomatoes you’re using **bouillon paste depth, umami, and softness, you can sub with 1 tsp mushroom granules/seasoning, ¾ tsp bouillon powder, ½ tsp yeast extract (marmite or similar), or 1 tsp aka (red) miso

The tomatoes are obviously the most important thing here, first off they should be whole peeled roma tomatoes, secondly they need to be GOOD. I’ve tried a lot of brands, and i’d suggest you do the same, find one YOU like. I prefer san marzano or “san marzano style” tomatoes hands down (yes yes i know, there’s a lot of hullabaloo about whether they’re real san marzanos, etc). They tend to be sweeter, less acidic, and more flavorful than the standard varieties, my personal favorite is Muir Glen, which is what i used here, we’ve always found their flavour to be wonderful and consistent. The rest of the ingredients only exist here to enhance the tomatoes, we have garlic and onion for some sweetness and zip, a little italian seasoning to bring in some herbal notes, and a teensy bit of a dark bouillon (a “no beef” one is good here, and you could also use mushroom granules/seasoning) to bump up the umami quality a bit and add a bit of richness. Salt (to taste) and olive oil are optional (and not shown above) though i highly recommend them both (unless your tomatoes have a lot of salt) the salt adds depth and the olive oil adds a nice layer of grassiness and a buttery quality, while being light and not making the sauce heavy. A little trick here if you hate chopping garlic and don’t mind dirtying another container (and happen to have a small blender) is you can blend together the garlic cloves, olive oil, and salt into a paste instead of chopping. This works especially well when you’re doing a double (or bigger) batch.

Everything simply gets tossed into the pot, cooked, and then the onion pieces are removed and tossed out. Seriously, don’t save them for anything, they’ve given up all their goodness and all that is left is slightly sweet mush, this is not the time to be trying to use everything up, sometimes you just gotta let go. After that you just blend it up and you’re done. We leave the tomatoes here whole until after cooking is done, this prevents them from breaking down too much while the onions release their flavour and helps to prevent scorching, if you feel like there isn’t enough liquid (especially when doing this on the stovetop) simply squeeze some of the tomatoes to release more juice, but try and not break them up too much. If you have an immersion (stick) blender this is an excellent time to whip it out, you can blend everything in the pot and save yourself a little clean up, i find it works best to use the lower setting (if it has one) and work in an up-down motion to get all the tomatoes broken up, then switching to the higher setting to finish things off. You’re looking for a somewhat coarse sauce here, not a fine-strained puree, but you also don’t want chunks, below there is a close-up picture you can use as a reference for what your final texture should look like.

There really isn’t much to this one, it’s a delicious and easy, classically inspired red sauce. Use it straight up, or adulterate to magically create new and exciting sauces, toss in some chopped spinach, or basil, maybe sliced olives? maybe some mushrooms? The possibilities are limited only by your imagination. Now, this isn’t some slow simmered heavy tomato sauce here, this is somewhat light-bodied, with a nice freshness about it, but still packed full of tomato goodness, it’s perfect when you’re not in the mood for anything heavy and for baked pasta dishes where a richer sauce might be too much after baking, i’ll share with you how to turn this into other heavier sauces later, so for now whip some up and enjoy some pasta!

a special note for batch size here, a double batch will fit inside a 6qt instant pot, a triple in an 8qt. The tomatoes will rise to the top during cooking and can push against the pressure pin, however, once you release pressure they should sink enough for the pin to fall, if not then AFTER you release ALL pressure, and with the toggle turned to open and not pressure, gently push down on the pin to release and turn lid to open.

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