Easy Tomato Sauce

This is the recipe I cook more than any other – I will have it at least once a week, if not more.

Stirred into pasta and topped with a generous sprinkling of Parmesan, there aren’t many things better (or easier for that matter).

It’s the recipe I always fall back on when the fridge is looking a bit empty, or I am in a cooking rut – and it never disappoints.

It’s a really handy sauce to have in your repertoire as it can be used as a base for lots of other recipes including aubergine parmigana, veggie lasagna or as a sauce for meatballs.

It also freezes really well, so I will often make more than I need and portion it up into individual containers ready for another day.

During the summer months I like to swap the tinned tomatoes for juicy fresh ones. Though when I do this, I only cook them for about 10 minutes or until they are just starting to break down.


Olive oil

5-6 garlic cloves (or less if you aren’t such a big fan), crushed

Bunch of fresh basil, leaves picked and stalks finely chopped

Small pinch chilli flakes (or fresh red chilli, finely sliced)

2 tins good quality chopped tomatoes

Generous pinch of sugar

Serves 4 as a sauce for pasta


Heat a generous glug of olive oil in a frying pan and add the crushed garlic, pinch of chilli flakes and basil stalks.

Fry for a few minutes, but don’t let the garlic take on too much colour.

Add the tinned tomatoes.

Give it all a good stir.

Fill up one of the tinned tomato cans with water and add.

Then add the sugar, along with a generous pinch of salt and pepper.

Mix everything together and bring to the boil.

Once the sauce is boiling, lower the heat and reduce to a simmer.

Cook for at least 1 hour or until the liquid is reduced and the sauce is thick. I often cook this for up to 2 hours. If you are concerned the sauce is looking a bit too thick at any point just add some more water.

After a few hours you should end up with something resembling this…

Stir in the basil leaves…

…and voila!

If you’re using as a sauce for pasta, boil 400g of pasta as per the packet instructions in generously salted water. Drain and add the pasta to the frying pan containing the tomato sauce and stir through.

Portion into bowls and top with plenty of Parmesan. YUM!

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