Basic Pasta sauce

    I needed a pasta sauce to use in a meatloaf recipe. The recipie called for bottled pasta sauce with vegetables and / or garlic. So I decided to make my own. This sauce really does develop a nice strong flavour if cooked for a long time

    Essex, England, UK
    1 person made this


    • 1 Large carrot (or 2 small)
    • 1 large onion
    • 2 stalks of celery (I also put the chopped celery leaves in this)
    • 2 cloves of garlic (minced) – garlic puree is fine for this
    • A good squeeze of tomato puree (about 2 teaspoons of tinned tomato puree)
    • 2 teaspoons olive oil
    • 2 tins of tomatoes (you could use chopped tomatoes but I find that using tinned whole tomatoes gives much more flavour – the long cooking time of this means that they mash down well at the end)
    • 1 tablespoon dried basil (or a good handful of fresh – chopped)
    • 1 tablespoon dried mixed herbs
    • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
    • 6 sundried tomatoes that have been packed in oil
    • Salt and pepper to season (or a stock cube)


    1. Chop the onion, carrot and celery finely
    2. Gently fry the onion in the olive oil for about 10 minutes (sweat don’t brown the onions)
    3. Add the celery and carrots and cook for a further 10 minutes.
    4. Add the garlic (puree if using) and the tomato puree and cook for a further 5 minutes – if using fresh garlic don’t let it catch.
    5. Add the 2 tins of tomatoes and rinse each tin out with a total of ½ a tin of boiling water (half fill one tin and then swill it round and pour that in to the other tin – swill that on as well). Pour the water in to the pan.
    6. Add all of the dried herbs (if using fresh basil don’t add it yet).
    7. Add seasoning to taste – if preferred you can use a stock cube of your choice. If using a stock cube add it with the boiling water when rinsing out the tins. Don’t use both a stock cube and salt, it will probably end up too salty.
    8. Now put it on very low - cover it and forget about it for about 90 minutes.
    9. After 90 minutes check the seasoning and “mash up” the tomatoes in the pan. How I do this is to get a wooden spoon (or spatula) and fairly large sharp knife and, using the knife, chop the tomato against the spoon. It is fairly easy to cut the tomatoes this way. If it is still a little wet then cook it for a few minutes with the cover off to reduce a little.
    10. If using fresh basil – now is the time to add it.
    11. Use or freeze as required.
    12. Makes 6 – 8 servings

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