Gigli pasta with homemade tomato sauce

I’ll be the first to admit it…I am a pasta snob. Isn’t that to be expected though in any Italian household? Well I’m here to encourage your pasta snobbiness & share something even better…tomato sauce snobbiness.

Do not be afraid. Homemade tomato sauce is quick (25 min cooking time), simple & much better than anything you’ll find in any jar at the supermarket.

I share this recipe with you as one of my first posts, because a good tomato sauce is the basis of Italian cuisine. I invite you to take this culinary journey with me beginning with one of the first recipes I taught myself – sugo di pomodoro.

Brown Rice with Tomato Sauce and Green Peas

Try brown rice with this tomato sauce recipe as an alternative to pasta.

Tip: Tomato sauce pairs well with brown rice as a healthy alternative.

Once you master a simple tomato sauce, you can pair it with your favorite pasta, grain or meat. I often pair it with brown rice as a more nutritious alternative & top it with my favorite green pea recipe (stay tuned for recipe in a later post).

The right tomato makes the sauce…

Okay, this might be obvious, but it’s true! Using the best tomatoes makes all the difference when it comes to homemade sauce.

San Marzano tomatoes are the gold standard of canned tomatoes, which is why I include them in my recipe. They are grown in the rich volcanic soil near Mt. Vesuvius, which results in a sweeter & less acidic tomato variety.

San Marzano tomatoes can be found in most supermarkets, including Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s & Target. Some of the brands that I’ve enjoyed are Cento, Nina & Strianese.


30 Minute Tomato Sauce
Prep Time
5 mins
Cook Time
25 mins
Total Time
30 mins

Author: Natalie Alkire
  • 1 28 oz. Can of peeled San Marzano tomatoes
  • 1 medium Yellow Onion sliced
  • 1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 16 leaves Fresh Basil
  • 1 splash Red Wine
  • 1 pinch Sugar
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  1. In a medium saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat.

  2. Add sliced onion and cook for 4-5 minutes OR until the onions are soft & translucent.

  3. Blend the can of tomatoes in a blender or food processor until smooth. 

  4. Add blended tomatoes to olive oil & onions.
  5. Add the basil, splash of red wine, sugar, salt & pepper and bring to a boil.
  6. Lower the heat to a simmer & cover for 20 minutes.

    Tip: Serve with your favorite pasta, Pecorino Romano cheese & top with a fresh basil sprig.