How to make a basic Italian tomato sauce

This basic tomato sauce can be used as a base for many pasta sauces or for pizza

Sugo al Pomodoro | Salsa al Pomodoro | Basic Tomato Sauce


Ingredients (adjust quantities depending on how much sauce you need – I often make it in big batches, then freeze portions)

  • Onion
  • Celery
  • Carrot
  • Olive oil
  • Chopped tomatoes or Passata
  • (if using for pizza, you can also add some oregano and garlic)


First, make the soffritto:

Very finely chop the onion(s), celery and carrot(s) – I use an electric chopper to get them really fine.  Roughly you are aiming for 1 carrot and 1-2 celery stalks per 1 onion and 500ml of tomatoes, but it also depends on how much ‘texture’ you want your sauce to have.

Fry up the finely-chopped onion, celery & carrot in abundant olive oil on a low heat so that they soften.  Make sure they don’t burn.  This will take about 5-10 mins, depending on quantities.

Note: if you were using garlic (this does not form part of the traditional Italian ‘soffritto’), you would also finely chop this and fry it up along with the carrots, onion and celery.

Add the tomatoes / passata and season with salt.

Cover and simmer on a low heat for 1.5 – 2 hours.

If you’re going to use this for pizza, you could stir in some oregano at the end of the cooking time.

Use as required, freeze what you don’t use.


Sugo al Pomodoro | Gloriously Simple, Gloriously Good!


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