Making your own Sugo Recipe, which is a traditional Italian homemade tomato sauce, is so much easier than you think! It only takes 20 minutes and tastes so much better than any jarred sauce.
Sugo di Pomodoro is the heart and soul of Italian cuisine. You can use this homemade tomato sauce in countless recipes and pasta dishes! It's a staple in Italian cooking and once you start making your own, you’ll never buy bottled sauce again.
Not only does it taste better with so much more flavor, but it's also cheaper and healthier. Jarred marinara sauces can contain so many additional ingredients and additives. This homemade recipe is cooked in 20 minutes with 4 simple ingredients. It's also vegan so anyone can enjoy it!
Pair it with my Easy Focaccia (no kneading required) for an authentic Italian dinner.
Whilst living in Italy, I've noticed that there aren't many marinara sauce bottles in grocery stores. This is because Italians, especially Nonna’s would never buy it! Making your own authentic Italian tomato sauce is much yummier and it's so easy! So lets kick this off and start to make your own homemade sugo recipe 🙂
Table of Contents
Why You'll Love This Recipe
- Italian Staple. A classic Italian tomato sauce is the base of Italian cuisine. You will never see a Nonna buying a jar of store-bought sauce so here you can cook like an Italian and make your own sugo recipe
- Versatile. You can use this sugo recipe in several dishes such as a classic tomato pasta, pappardelle, lasagne or as a base for a meat sauce, ragu or adding to ground beef or sausage
- Meal Prep. Make a double batch and freeze the extras for easy future meals
- So Easy. Made in 20 minutes with only 4 ingredients. It can't get any easier!
Ingredients and Substitutions
- Tomatoes of course are the star of the show! It’s important to use good quality Roma tomatoes (also known as plum tomatoes), which will make your traditional Italian tomato sauce taste so much better! If in season, fresh tomatoes can be used but canned tomatoes work great. They're what I’ve used in this recipe, so you can make it anytime.
Ensure to use whole tomatoes not crushed tomatoes. If you can buy San Marzano tomatoes even better! Passata can be used as substitute as long as there aren't any other ingredients or additives, but tomato paste isn't recommended for this type of tomato sauce recipe
- Garlic is firstly sautéed in olive oil. I personally don't cut the garlic cloves and leave them whole rather than minced garlic. You can also use onions in your sugo recipe, but I prefer to keep it as a basic authentic Italian sauce which does not generally use it unless making a soffritto which is a combination of chopped onion, carrot and celery
- Herbs. Fresh basil leaves are added to the sugo recipe which works so well. Just ensure to add it towards the end of the simmering. Oregano or thyme can be used if needed as a substitute. Feel free to use dried herbs if fresh ones aren't on hand
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil is used for sautéing the garlic which contributing to the sauce's richness and base. Butter is generally not used
- Salt is of course added to the sugo recipe for flavor. You can also add black pepper or even red pepper flakes for a little spice, but it's only for preference.
How to make Sugo Recipe (Italian Homemade Tomato Sauce)
Making an authentic Italian sugo at home takes no time at all and will be so much better than any store-bought sauce. Here are my simple steps below.
- In a large saucepan saute olive oil with peeled garlic cloves for a few minutes over medium heat
- Add canned tomatoes and slightly break them up with a wooden spoon. Season with a good pinch of salt and simmer with the lid on for 15 minutes over a low-medium heat
- Tear up basil leaves and stir through. Simmer with the lid on for an additional 5 minutes
- The sauce is ready as a chunky sauce, or you can let the sauce cool down slightly then blend until smooth
- If making into a tomato pasta, cook the pasta until al dente in a large pot of boiling salted water
- Add pasta straight to the pan with the sauce and a splash of pasta water. Stir through on high heat for a couple of minutes and add some grated parmesan cheese for the perfect tomato pasta!
Tips and Tricks
- Good quality tomatoes are key!! Try and use either San Marzano tomatoes or Roma tomatoes which can be fresh or canned tomatoes are great too
- If using canned tomatoes, ensure there are no other ingredients but tomatoes or preservatives. Whole peeled tomatoes are best
- Slow Simmer for a truly authentic taste. Simmer the sauce on low heat for 20 minutes. Don't rush the process!
- Make a double batch of this sugo recipe! I love to freeze the second batch and use when needed for a quick dinner when I'm short on time
- Always save some pasta water if making pasta pomodoro or using as spaghetti sauce. Add the cooked pasta to the tomato sauce with a splash of pasta water and stir together for a minute for the ultimate flavor
What to serve with this sugo recipe
Storage, Freezing and Reheating
- Keep any leftovers of this sugo recipe in the fridge for up to 5 days. Ensure it's in an air tight container or mason jar
- I prefer to reheat over the stove top which takes a couple of minutes, but you can also reheat in the microwave if wishing to save on extra dishes to wash up
- Freeze the extras for a quick dinner option next time! I always make a double batch of this sugo di pomodoro recipe and freeze the second portion. This keeps in the freezer for up to 3 months. Store in an airtight container or freezer bags and thaw when needed
In Italian, sugo translates to a cooked sauce. Typically a tomato sauce that has been simmered and used for pasta and other dishes
Traditional sugo di pomodoro is made using 4 ingredients, extra virgin olive oil, garlic, perfectly ripe tomatoes and basil leaves
Sugo is a basic Italian homemade tomato sauce recipe used for simple pastas or for dishes such as lasagne or pizza sauce.
Ragu however is usually a much richer sauce, commonly containing red wine and meats such as beef, pork shoulder and other meats. It's also usually simmered for a few hours for an in depth flavor
More Easy Sauces
- How to Make Pesto
- Vegan Tzatziki
- Caesar Salad Dressing
- Peanut Sauce
- Miso Dressing
- Vegan Gravy
- Persian Cucumber Yogurt Dip
More Italian Recipes
- Pasta e Fagioli
- Italian Zucchini Fritters
- Lemon Garlic Pasta
- Spaghetti Alla Puttanesca
- Broccoli Pasta
- Pesto alla Trapanese (Sicilian Pesto)
- Marocchino Coffee
I love seeing your creations and remakes, so be sure to rate the recipe, comment and share your Sugo Recipe (Italian Homemade Tomato Sauce) photo on Instagram so I can share the love!
Sugo Recipe (Italian Homemade Tomato Sauce)
- 800 grams / 28 oz canned peeled whole tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 2 large garlic cloves
- ½ handful fresh basil leaves (approximately 8 big leaves)
- Salt to taste
Optional (if wishing to make a classic pasta pomodoro)
- 360 grams / 13 oz pasta of choice
- Grated parmesan cheese
- In a large saucepan or pot, add the olive oil, peeled garlic cloves and saute for a few minutes over medium heat until fragrant and golden
- Add the canned tomatoes and slightly break them up with a wooden spoonAdd ½ cup of water to the can to capture any leftover sauce then season with a good pinch of salt. Simmer with the lid on for 15 minutes over a low-medium heat
- Tear up the basil leaves and stir through. Simmer with the lid on for an additional 5 minutes
- The sauce is ready as is, as a chunky sauce, or you can allow the tomato sauce to cool down slightly, then blend until smooth using a blender or an immersion blender. You then have the perfect sugo recipe!
Optional (if making with pasta)
- If making into a tomato pasta, cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water. Ensure to cook until al dente and not over cook the pasta (usually 2 minutes under the package instructions)
- Drain the pasta and keep some of the pasta water. Add the pasta straight to the pan with the sauce along with a splash of pasta water. Stir through on high heat ensuring all the pasta is combined with the sauce. You can also add some finely grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese for the perfect pasta pomodoro!
- The nutrition table only includes the tomato sauce as the pasta is optional