How to Make a Red Sauce Using Tomato Paste


Classic red sauce is a staple of Italian cooking and is the base for many pasta dishes, lasagna and pizza. Once you perfect a basic red sauce recipe, you can adapt it to any flavor and style you prefer, adding extra ingredients and using it in alternative ways. Tomato paste gives red sauce a thicker texture and a more concentrated tomato flavor. But for best results, only use it alongside fresh or canned whole tomatoes.

Things You'll Need

  • 1 6-oz. can tomato paste
  • 2 yellow onions
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 2 1/2 lbs. fresh tomatoes or 2 14.5-oz. cans crushed tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp. salt
  • 3 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tsp. pepper
  • 1 tsp. dry basil
  • 1 tsp. dry oregano
  • Chop 2 yellow onions and 1 clove garlic. If you are using fresh tomatoes instead of canned tomatoes, chop 2 1/2 lbs. with the skin and seeds removed. Set aside.

  • Heat 3 tbsp. of olive oil in a large saucepan. Add the onions and garlic and simmer until the garlic starts to brown. Add 1 tbsp. salt, 1/2 tsp. black pepper, 1 tsp. dried oregano, 1 tsp. dried basil and one can of tomato paste. Stir until combined and add either the chopped fresh tomatoes or 2 large cans of crushed tomatoes.

  • Reduce the heat to a low simmer and allow the red sauce to cook for about 30 minutes. Stir the sauce every 5 to 10 minutes to make sure it is not sticking to the bottom.

  • Use the sauce right away on pasta or as a pizza sauce. Store in the refrigerator in an airtight jar or plastic locking container for up to a week or store in the freezer for up to six months.

Tips & Warnings

  • Add other spices or ingredients to the sauce if you desire: thyme, red pepper, olives, celery, ground meat or anything else you enjoy in a red sauce.

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  • Photo Credit Eising/Photodisc/Getty Images
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