This is my Nonna's Italian Pasta Sauce recipe and it is filled with fresh herbs and San Marzano tomatoes. The addition of carrots gives the sauce the perfect amount of sweetness without needing sugar. This tomato sauce recipe goes great with your favorite type of pasta and is the ideal Sunday meal.
If someone asks me what my favorite meal is, I would 1000% say pasta, especially with tomato sauce. It is just the best, most comforting meal in my opinion. I also think it is the perfect homemade meal to serve to any and everyone.
This recipe has a special place in my heart. Growing up, we would visit my Nonna in England and I would always look forward to her making pasta sauce. It was and is the best ever. Nothing can replace watching her make this recipe and then enjoying it together, but every time I make it I think of her and am so lucky that I have this recipe to recreate. I truly hope you enjoy this as much as I do.
Why You'll Love this Recipe
- Simple ingredients. This tomato sauce recipe is made with simple ingredients that combine into the most delicious sauce.
- Flavorful. This sauce is super flavorful and comforting and will be your go-to sauce recipe.
- The sauce is a great base for other recipes, including my Simple Turkey Bolognese and Classic Lasagna with Béchamel.
Ingredients and Substitutions
- Oil and butter- I like to use both butter (unsalted) and extra virgin olive oil when making this recipe. If you need this recipe to be fully vegan, substitute vegan butter or omit it.
- Mirepoix- this is a combo of onion, celery and carrots. The carrots add sweetness to the sauce without needing to add sugar to the sauce.
- Red wine- I recommend using Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir or a Chianti. You can make this recipe without wine if you wish.
- Crushed tomatoes- some pasta sauce recipes call for whole tomatoes but crushed tomatoes work great in this recipe. However, I highly recommend using San Marzano tomatoes.
- Herbs- you will need fresh basil and fresh thyme.
See the recipe card below for quantities and remaining ingredients.
Sauté the mirepoix in extra virgin olive oil and unsalted butter until everything is slightly softened.
Add the salt and garlic and cook until the garlic is slightly browned.
Deglaze the pan with red wine and cook for about 5 minutes.
Pour in the tomatoes and remaining ingredients.
Simmer on low for about 1 hour.
Blend and serve! Use an immersion blender to smooth out the sauce slightly.
My favorite way to sweeten sauce is to use carrots which add a natural sweetness. However, if for some reason you don't want to use carrots, you can add a tiny bit of sugar.
Yes! This sauce can be made a few days before you plan on eating it. It will stay in the fridge for about 5 days and can also be frozen.
No, this recipe hasn't been tested for canning so I don't recommend it.
Yes, if you don't mind a thicker sauce on your pizza, this sauce is great on pizza.
Storage and Reheating
This sauce will last in the fridge for about 5 days. Make sure you allow the sauce to cool completely before putting it in the fridge. Store in an airtight container. Check out my top tips for storing spaghetti.
Freeze the sauce in a freezer-safe container or storage bag for up to 3 months. Allow it to defrost in the fridge then reheat it on the stove or in the microwave.
- Most tomato sauce recipes call for oil but I recommend adding butter as well. Butter adds a creamy flavor to the sauce.
- Make sure you use high-quality tomatoes. It makes a huge difference.
- Make sure your sauce has some popping bubbles when simmering.
- Serve this with Air Fryer Green Beans for a delicious and healthy meal!
Authentic Italian Pasta Sauce Recipe
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, or vegan butter
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 2 carrots, peeled & diced
- 2 celery stalks, diced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 teaspoons salt
- ½ cup red wine, such as Cabernet Sauvignon or Pinot Noir
- 1 (28 ounce) can crushed San Marzano tomatoes
- black pepper, to taste
- ¼ cup fresh basil, torn
- 1-2 sprigs of fresh thyme
- Heat olive oil & butter in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat.
- Once hot, add the diced onion, carrots & celery and saute until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes.
- Add in 1 teaspoon of salt and the garlic and cook for 1-2 more minutes.
- Pour in the red wine and allow it to simmer for 5 minutes. Next, add in the can of crushed tomatoes, more salt, black pepper to taste, basil and thyme.
- Cover the pot, bring it to a slight boil, turn down the heat to low & simmer for 45 minutes to 1 hour.
- Turn off the heat, allow the sauce to cool for a few minutes, then blend with an immersion or a traditional blender until smooth.
Nutritional information is based on third-party calculations and should be considered estimates. Actual nutritional content will vary with brands used, measuring methods, portion sizes and more.
Sue Peterson says
LOVE this sauce. Making it now with the addition of a friends Moms recipe for meatballs - so I on the menu here this evening we have Marrisa's, your Nonna's sauce, with Large Marge's Meatballs. (never met Marge, she was called large Marge because she was TINY : )
Reading this recipe is making me so hungry! I love from scratch sauce and haven’t made my own version in a while. This is inspiring and looks so delicious!
Sarah Holt says
Thanks so much Morgan 🙂