Tomato sauce like “Nonna” used to do

Yields: 20 Servings Difficulty: Easy Prep Time: 30 Mins Cook Time: 2 Hr 30 Mins Total Time: 3 Hr

The video is accessible here:

This tomato sauce recipe is simply the best, full of flavours and easy to recreate. This is a sauce that you do not have to spend a lot of time to make.

It was passed on to by a Nona from Montepulciano a little village of Tuscany in Italy. She once told me, that back in the days she used to make it with her family on the Sunday afternoon. They were always gathering together at the end of the week to prepare sauce and pasta for the week for the entire family. Nowadays, nothing much changed, people do a lot of “prep meals” or bulk cooking.

This recipe creates 4 to 5 L of sauce in the end (approximately 20 serves). You can use it as it is, you can add some red wine, you can cook your mince and add this sauce to it for “Bolognese sauce”. You can add some cream too it to make it richer. You can add some chilies and use it for “chili mussels’ dish”. I also use it for my “Lasagna” and for my “cannelloni”. The variations are endless.

As Nonna used to say “Buon Appetito, e mangiare mangiare”

Happy cooking everyone. Let me know what you think. You can comment on this blog or under my video my you tube channel.

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The best time to plant herbs was last year. The second-best time is now.”



0/14 Ingredients
Adjust Servings
    From the Garden:
  • From the Pantry:


0/16 Instructions
  • Wash all vegetables and peel the garlic, onions and carrots. Cut the onions in half and slice them to 2-3 mm thick. Cut the carrots in large section (4 cm). Cut the tomatoes in quarters.
  • Sliced onions
  • Using your favourite large sauce pan or stew pot, heat up the olive oil
  • Add the sliced onion and cook until they look a little bit brown (caramelised/sweating the onions). This can take 5 to 10 min depending of the quantity you are cooking
  • Meanwhile, chopped garlic and add it to the pot and stir it through for 2 minutes to release the flavours.
  • Add the carrots and cook for a further 2 minutes.
  • Stir in the tomato paste and cook it for another 2 min. By now, you should feel like transported to Montepulciano a little village of Tuscany in Italy, where this Nona’s recipe comes from. If you have never been there, close your eyes, breath and feel the cultural discovery through the smell of your sauce
  • Add the chopped tomatoes to the pot and stir everything together.
  • Pour the chicken stock into the pot. It should cover the tomatoes, if not add some water.
  • Add the sugar. The sugar is there to reduce acidity content.
  • Throw in the herbs and give it a stir.
  • Cook to reach boiling point (big bubbles). Reduce the heat and cook to what we call simmering point (small bubbles on the edge of the pot). Now, you can pretty much let it cook for 2 hours, giving it a stir every 30 min. During this process of what chef call reduction, all the ingredients infuses together and the liquids evaporates. That step is crucial as it concentrate the flavours and makes this sauce so special. You will lose about 20% to 30% of liquids, which is normal
  • Once you reach that cooking time, you need to check the seasoning of your sauce. You will need to add a bit of salt and pepper. If you find the sauce to acidic, add a little bit more of sugar.
  • Remove the bay leaves and thyme branches and let it cool down.
  • If you are in the rush and want it now, use a hand stick blender until it is totally smooth. 20. Personally, I cool down the sauce, put it in the fridge overnight and blend it. This way is safer as you can not get burnt.
  • Transfer the sauce to some food container and freeze them until you need them.



Buy your tomatoes form your local growers and if possible when they are in season. Roma tomatoes are great for this recipe but you can use any tomatoes.

Look out, some growers market or shops do some great special sometimes. I got 10kg for $2.00. Keep the best tomatoes for your salads and the other for the sauce.

You do not need to use sugar. I do as it levels the acidity in the sauce. If the sauce is to acidic add a little bit of sugar. If you made it too sweet, add a bit of red wine.

You can use the sauce straight away and keep it for 5 days in the fridge. You can freeze it in small, convenient and keep it for at least 3 months in the freezer.

As for blending tools, you can use a hand stick blender, a food processor, a thermomixer or like me I use the Nutri bullet (as long as the item is cold). Safety is paramount so always follow manufacturer’s instructions.

Cooking Terminology

Sweating: It is a cooking terminology that means cooking an item at slow heat in a little amount of fat. Frequent stirring ensure that any emitted liquid will evaporate. Sweating onions usually results in making them tender and translucent.

For the onions in this recipe, it releases the moisture content and natural sugar of the onions which helps develop that caramel colour and sweet flavour.

Reduction: is the process of thickening and intensifying the flavour of a liquid mixture such as a soup, sauce, wine, or juice by simmering or boiling.

When you are seasoning your dish, it is better to put less at first and taste. Add a bit more and taste again. Repeat until you are happy. When you season too much, specially with salt, you can’t take it out of the dish and it ruins it. Right seasoning enhances flavours, poor seasoning makes a dish dull. Experiment with your friends. Better be safe and put less and let people adjust to their taste.