Easy Tomato Sauce Recipe
- 1 onion
- 1 tin peeled plum tomatoes
- 4 cloves of garlic
- 1 tablespoon caster sugar
- 3 tablespoons olive oil for frying
- Finely chop the onion.
- Heat the oil in the pan and fry the onion until light golden.
- Add tomatoes and all additional ingredients including crushed or thinly sliced garlic, sugar and salt.
- Let the sauce reduce on medium heat for 15 – 20 minutes.
This is my ultimate recipe. I can’t tell you how much I love it. There are only 6 ingredients involved and the whole sauce doesn’t take more than 30 minutes to make.
Another reason why this recipe is my favourite is that it’s easy to make a bigger batch and either store it in the fridge for up to 4 days or freeze it to have the sauce ready for quick weekday dinner.
Does it sound good already? Well, it isn’t the best part yet!
This simple tomato sauce is a fantastic base for many meals (including pasta sauce, pizza sauce, spaghetti bolognese, meatballs and even curry). Adding an already made sauce to some of the above-mentioned meals will considerably shorten the cooking time.
The best way how to thicken the sauce in case it is too runny is to let it reduce on a medium simmer. Longer cooking doesn’t have a negative effect on the sauce, it will enhance the flavours. Don’t worry to let it boil over 30 minutes if necessary.
If you don’t have time and your family is ready to eat you for their dinner you can thicken tomato sauce with either flour or corn starch (corn flour).
If you don’t know how much of the sauce liquid you need to thicken I recommend starting with one heaped tablespoon of flour or corn starch.
Mix a tablespoon of thickener with a small amount of water to make it runny and pour the runny mixture into the sauce. Stir continuously. Boil the sauce for 1 – 2 minutes to see how thick the sauce is. Repeat the process if necessary.
One thing that can be tricky is to make the thickening mixture without lumps. I would like to share with you a trick my granny told me that prevents lumps in it.
Always mix flour with hot (not boiling) water and cornstarch with cold water. It’s a simple but clever solution that works.
We used to can our family tomato sauce recipe with my mum for years but I have a good reason not to do it any more.
While poisoning from botulism from food is rare I’ve learnt that there is a risk for growing botulism in low acidic food canned in boiling water bath. Tomatoes (to my surprise) aren’t highly acidic fruit. Their pH is around 4.5. There are right on the safe edge (high acidity = pH of 4.5 or below). The safest way to can low acidic vegetable, fruit and even meat is in a pressure canner. I am not the owner of one so let’s go back to boiling water bath canning method.
Unfortunately, any tomato sauce cooked with olive oil, onion and garlic already flavoured and ready to be served isn’t safe for canning at home using boiling water bath method. The acidity in this sauce isn’t high enough and the other ingredients can create potential danger too.
You can still safely can tomatoes at home but it is recommended to follow a tried and tested recipe for canning in a water bath. I like thespruceeats.com basic tomato recipe for canning. It is made purely of tomatoes, salt and uses lemon juice to increase the acidity. It’s a great recipe for storing fresh tomatoes from the garden if you’ve had a big harvest but this sauce isn’t ready to be served with pasta so you have to cook it first.
Now, when I know the risks of canning I don’t want to take a chance with anyone’s health. That’s why I freeze my homemade tomato sauce instead of canning it.
The sauce has to be put away within 2 hours of cooking. It is safe in the freezer for a very long time but to maintain its best qualities and taste it’s recommended to be consumed within 6 months.
I know it is considerably shorter time slot compare to canned products but I don’t see it as a problem as I always use my frozen tomato sauce within a few weeks.
It can be tricky to remember a date of use for everything you put into the freezer. A good tip is to label a container or plastic bag with a name and the date. Another handy tip is to keep a record in a notepad of everything that goes into the freezer with the name and date as well. This way you won’t ever forget what you have in the freezer and you can easily keep a track on the best day of use.