Real Homemade Tomato Sauce

Pasta with sauce

This is one of the most complimented Italian foods that I make regularly, and my secret shame is that it’s dumb-easy. Real homemade tomato sauce is always better than store-bought, and I bet you could get it into the pan and cooking before your significant other could make it to the store and back to buy some pasta sauce.

Let’s be clear, I didn’t invent this recipe. This is from the late Italian-home-cooking genius, Marcella Hazan. I felt that there was absolutely no need to improve upon perfection. The only changes to her tomato sauce that I made are leaving the onions in the sauce, and adding a speck of MSG to make up for the lower umami of canned tomatoes, compared to fresh.

Note: if you are making this recipe using a super basic pantry, substitute the San Marzano tomatoes for regular diced tomatoes. It won’t be as fantastic, but if you are using the super basic pantry we’re in survival mode anyway.

other stuff

Pasta with sauce
Preparation Time: 8 minutes
Cooking Time: 45 minutes
Serves: 6 people


1 28-ounce can san marzano tomatoes, crushed to pulp with your hands (get in there, it’s fun)

6 tablespoons butter

1 medium onion [150 grams], finely diced

2 teaspoons salt

1/2 teaspoon msg

1 pound pasta

grated real parmesan (if you are feeling fancy)

Basic American Pantry


Put all ingredients except for the pasta into a saucepan that can accommodate the volume, and slowly but steadily simmer uncovered for 45-60 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent burning the bottom.

Relax. Maybe have a negroni.

During cooking, squish any large pieces of tomato that you find with the back of a wooden spoon.

Towards the end of cooking, prepare your pasta following the package directions.

Toss the pasta with the sauce, portion, and top each dish with grated parmesan (if you are feeling fancy.)

Keep being better at cooking...

Keep being better at cooking...