Pasta Sauce, Starting From Scratch.

by Lesley on February 28, 2009

Tomatoes, garlic, fresh basil and onion or shallots are the ingredients for the Italian “base sauce”, Salsa al Pomodoro”.

Base ingredient variation

There are many variations to this Italian tomato sauce, if you add a few anchovy fillets, capers and black pitted olives, you’ve got another classic sauce for your pasta, “Pasta alla Puttanesca”, which, when translated means “pasta the way a whore would make it”.

Originating from Naples, word has it that the ladies of the night would be able to whip up this tasty dish in between clients, and it’s cheap too! I love this sauce, and have added my own variation on it, by omiting the anchovies and capers and adding pancetta and sun dried tomatoes instead, which you can find here (Easy Pasta Sauce)

My “Base Sauce” Variation

Serves 2
Prep Time 5 mins
Cooking Time 25-30 mins

  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 (400g)tins chopped tomatoes
  • 2 Tbsp tomato puree
  • 2 Tbsp Ex virgin olive oil
  • Large handful fresh basil leaves, shredded
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • Large pinch of oregano
  • Lots of freshly ground black pepper and a pinch of salt
  • 1 Tsp sugar

Base sauce ingredients


  • Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan or wok and add the onion
  • Cook for 3-4 minutes, taking care not to burn
  • Add the chopped garlic and cook for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally
  • Reduce the heat to low
  • Add the chopped tomatoes, parsley, oregano, basil and stir
  • Sprinkle in the sugar
  • Season to taste with Himalayan or Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Continue to cook low-medium uncovered for another 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until it reduces to a thicker sauce


  • Large frying pan or wok

Shopping List

  • 1 large onion
  • 1 clove garlic
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 (400g)tins chopped tomatoes
  • Tomato puree
  • Fresh basil
  • Fresh parsley
  • Oregano
  • Sugar
  • Salt and black pepper
Be Sociable, Share!

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Jessica@FoodMayhem March 2, 2009 at 4:45 pm

Ah…the versatility of pasta sauce, can’t blame everyone for lovin’ it.

Barry March 3, 2009 at 8:43 am

Have to agree with that!;0)

Kim Godin March 13, 2009 at 9:43 am

Everything in here looks so fresh and delicious I can’t wait to try one!

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: