Basic Italian Tomato Sauce

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By The Paula Deen Test Kitchen

Just add pasta, pizza, stuffed green pepper or meatballs! This sauce is a must in any beginner and advanced cook’s repertoire. Simple, fresh and easy to make.  Let our simple to follow instructions help you make this one of your “go to” favorites. 

How To: Basic Italian Tomato Sauce

1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, minced
2 large carrots, chopped fine
Salt & pepper to taste
1 - 35oz can of Italian Peeled Tomatoes with basil leaves
2 bay leaves
1/2 stick of unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 of a 12 oz jar of roasted red bell peppers, roughly chopped

Tools you’ll need:
Food Processor or blender (optional)
Large sauté pan with fitted lid
Chopping Board
Knife for chopping
Can Opener
Wooden Spoon
1/2 cup measuring cup

To your sauté pan over medium heat, add the olive oil.  Add onion and garlic, sautéing until translucent-just a few minutes.  Be careful not to burn your garlic. Add in chopped carrots & season with salt & pepper. Stir together and continue to sauté until carrots are tender. About 10 minutes (this will depend on the size of your carrots)

Stir in tomatoes (including sauce). Crush tomatoes gently with the back of your wooden spoon. Stir together. Add chopped roasted red bell peppers and bay leaves and half of your butter. Stir together. Taste your sauce for seasoning and add salt if necessary. Reduce your heat to low, place the lid on and allow it to simmer for at least an hour until it thickens monitoring it along the way for liquid levels. To do this, take your empty tomato can and fill it about half way with water and place it nearby your pot. When your sauce cooks down and needs more liquid add a little bit of water. Add 3/4 cup of water at a time. Repeat this process until your sauce is fully cooked. This will take 1-2 hours simmering over low heat.

Once the sauce is complete, add in the remaining butter, stir & taste for seasoning. Add salt if necessary. Remove and discard the bay leaves. Take 1/2 of your sauce & put into food processor (or blender) & pulse until it’s at your desired consistency. Repeat with remaining sauce. This recipe makes quite a lot of sauce. Tip: you can freeze the rest of the sauce that you don’t use.

This sauce pairs perfectly with any pasta or as the base for your favorite pizza!

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Reader Comments:


What a down to earth-BEAUITFUL LADY you are. I just love watching you in the kitchen or on a talk show, like the one with Oprah at your home. I hope one day our paths will cross because I would sure like to meet you. Stay Well,your fan Annamae

By Anna Cacio on September 11, 2012


So excited to try this recipe, thank you so much.

By Anonymous on January 18, 2011


Oh my gosh, that sounds sooooo fabulous! Must try it, soon.

By Donna Nero on January 18, 2011


This sounds absolutly Yummy and I'm gonna for sure try this out! I'm always looking for something new to try on my Family.My Grandaughter will Love to help make this as well. I'll let ya know how they like it.Ya'll always have some great recipies to try on and my Family Loves ya for it!Here goes!

By Sherry Ingraham on January 17, 2011


I have been looking for a basic tomato sauce forever, well at least one that doesn't call for oregano (oregano and I do NOT get along) This is absolutely perfect, it has all the things I want and none of those I don't. Much appreciated Paula, Your show is watched constantly by myself and my 5 year old, he loves you too! Thanks again Pat o and in addition I made it just how you said and it turned out perfect. TY

By Pat Shaw on January 17, 2011


Hi Tasha, try adding a little sugar (2-3 T.) to the sauce. It helps with the acidity.

By Karen on January 17, 2011


I made this just how it says, and it didn't come out right. It tasted good, but it wasn't a tomato sauce. I don't know what I did wrong. It was really thick and orange and didn't taste tomato-y at all. But I will try it again and see!

By Tasha on January 15, 2011

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Paula, I love watching you and your family. I miss seeing your show, I watched you everyday. My son lives in Charleston S.C. He took me to the Lady & Sons to eat. Oh my goodness! People are always telling me that I look just like the cooking lady Paula Deen. I always tell them that you are my hero. May God Bless You Mary Ann
Mary Ann Tharp in A Summer of Burgers on August 15, 2014 at 10:48 pm

Add a few spoonfuls of parmesan cheese to the flour and cornmeal breading and it kicks the tomatoes up another notch. Bev
in Crispy Fried Green Tomatoes on August 15, 2014 at 10:33 am

I just bought Paula's Peach Salad Dressing and wondered if anyone has a good recipe that they use it in?
Melissa in Taste Testing 101 on August 13, 2014 at 8:36 am

Congrats Bobby. Loved the family picture miss you Paula on TV will be watching online. Jack is getting big. Looks like his mom but Matt aka moose has your face. Your eyes cheeks hair even falls to his face like yours except to the left. Good luck on your next venture. You give us other 60+ yr women strength to move on. Keep up the good work.
Carol Bryant in Love at Last on August 11, 2014 at 6:12 pm