Basic Tomato Sauce with Onion and Garlic | Recipes | PBS Food

Basic Tomato Sauce with Onion and Garlic

This simple but intensely flavored sauce can be used in many Italian recipes. Make a large batch and freeze in small containers for quick reheating.


Yield: Makes about 5 cups



  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 28-ounce cans diced tomatoes or 3 1/2 pounds fresh tomatoes peeled, seeded and diced
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Pinch of crushed red pepper
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste


  1. Heat oil in a large heavy pan or Dutch oven over medium-low heat. Add onion and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add garlic and crushed red pepper; cook for 30 to 60 seconds.
  3. Add tomatoes, tomato paste and oregano; mash with a potato masher.
  4. Bring to a boil. Simmer, uncovered, over low heat, stirring frequently, until the tomatoes cook down to a thick mass, 45 to 55 minutes. Season with pepper.


© 2005 Eating Well Inc. This segment appears in show #3004.
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