Basic Tomato Pasta Sauce

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8 to 8 servings

This is a very simple sauce that can be gussied up with sautéed vegetables or browned meat when you're ready to use it.


  • 2 tbsp olive oil , or vegetable oil
  • 2 medium onions , chopped
  • 4 to 6 garlic cloves , minced
  • 12 cups chopped ripe plum tomatoes , (or squished with your hands)
  • 1 to 2 tbsp tomato paste , (optional)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped basil
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley


  • In a Dutch oven or other large pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring, for 5 to 7 minutes or until softened. Add the garlic and continue to cook for 1 minute; don’t let it get brown. Immediately dump in all the tomatoes, increase the heat to high and bring to a boil, stirring often. If your tomatoes seem a bit watery, you can add the optional tomato paste at this point, along with the salt and pepper. Reduce heat to low and let the sauce simmer, uncovered, for about an hour, until thickened (stir often to prevent scorching).
  • At this point, taste the sauce and adjust the seasoning with additional salt and pepper if needed, then stir in the chopped herbs and continue to simmer for another 15 to 20 minutes. Stir often, especially toward the end of the cooking time, to make sure the sauce doesn’t scorch on the bottom. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.
  • Spoon sauce into storage containers (use whatever size makes sense for your family) and freeze.