Tomato Sauce

Mother’s tomato sauce (cir. 1970’s)

sauce, cooked down to perfection

Tomato Sauce

“How can something so simple, go so wrong”, I’ve often thought when eating a pasta dish at a restaurant. I think, either you know and understand the proper taste of pasta sauce, or you’ve missed it and should seek out some super fine recipes for correcting your faults. It’s a taste acquired from generations of tasting and preparing. I remember my Noni’s spaghetti sauce-my sister insists she finished the sauce with a dash of cinnamon, but I don’t remember this. I recognize my mother’s sauce just by the aroma when you walk in the kitchen, and now, my kids have a distinct tongue for a good sauce. Practice or improve with this recipe. Enjoy.
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Servings 5 people


  • 1 cup onions usually 1 large onion chopped
  • 1/2 cup carrots a fine chop, or fine grate
  • 2 cloves garlic finely chopped
  • 1 Tbs butter
  • 1 Tbs olive oil or more if desired for sauteeing onions and garlic
  • 1 can Roma tomatoes diced is preferred
  • 1 Tbs sugar optional, depending if your from Northern or Southern Italy.
  • 2 tsp red wine vinegar also optional, or use balsamic
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1 tsp sea salt remember your quality sea salt
  • 1 Tbs rosemary fresh, depending on your love of the herbs, I use 1 Tbs each
  • 1 Tbs oregano fresh
  • 1/2 lbs ground meat fresh, optional of course. you could also add diced bacon, or use italian sausage


  • Sautee over medium heat the onion & garlic until translucent and giving off a nice aroma. Cook over very low heat, the onion, celery, carrot, bacon if used and garlic in the butter and olive oil for 10 minutes, then turn the heat up so that they brown lightly. Add the rest of the ingredients, and bring to the boil. Don’t cover the pan, but keep the sauce bubbling and busy for at least 15 minutes. It will reduce to a rich stew. No need to stir.
  • Add your meat and cook until well combined with garlic and onions.
  • Add herbs and salt. Season to taste.
  • Add tomatoes. I usually add a can of tomatoes, then dice up whatever fresh tomatoes I have in the house.
  • Add your acidic liquids (vinegar, wine), and your sugar
  • Bring entire mixture to a low boil, then turn down to a simmer, cover with a lid and let it cook down. The desired amount of texture and color is determined by you. I usually do 2 hours if I have the time. Otherwise a minimum of 30 min.
  • Serve over pasta, on rice, or use for dipping fresh bread. Enjoy! This sauce can be stored in the fridge for a day or two.
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