Big-Batch Tomato Sauce

This image courtesy of Joseph DeLeo

Here’s an indispensable sauce I always have handy in the freezer to use as a base for my family’s favorite pasta dishes. It’s a versatile sauce and I’ve included several ways to serve it in this book.

NotesIn summer, instead of canned tomatoes, I make this sauce with 5 lbs (2.5 kg) of fresh ripe tomatoes, preferably the plum variety. To prepare, remove tomato cores. Cut an X in the bottom of each. Plunge in boiling water for 30 seconds to loosen skins. Chill in cold water; drain. Slip off skins; cut tomatoes in half crosswise and squeeze out seeds. Chop finely. Instead of dried basil and oregano, replace dried herbs with 1/3 cup (75 mL) chopped fresh basil; add towards end of cooking.

To save time, chop vegetables in the food processor.

Serves14 (½ cup/125 mL per serving)


Total Timeunder 1 hour

Make Ahead RecipeYes

Kid FriendlyYes

Dietary Considerationdiabetic, egg-free, gluten-free, halal, kosher, low carb, low cholesterol, low saturated fat, low-fat, peanut free, soy free, tree nut free, vegan, vegetarian

Taste and Texturegarlicky, herby, savory

Type of Dishpasta sauce, sauces


  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, including leaves, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) dried basil leaves
  • 1½ tsp (7 mL) dried oregano leaves
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) granulated sugar
  • ½ tsp (2 mL) freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 cans (28 oz/796 mL) plum tomatoes, including juice, chopped
  • 1 can (5½ oz/156 mL) tomato paste
  • ¼ cup (50 mL) finely chopped fresh parsley


  1. In a large Dutch oven or saucepan, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onion, carrots, celery, garlic, basil, oregano, sugar, pepper and bay leaf; cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes or until vegetables are softened.

  2. Stir in tomatoes with juice, tomato paste and 1 tomato-paste can of water. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, for 35 to 40 minutes, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened. Remove bay leaf; stir in parsley. Let cool; pack into containers and refrigerate or freeze.


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