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San Marzano Tomato Sauce

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This San Marzano tomato sauce recipe is inspired by my time in Italy. It’s super simple to make, but it makes for a delicious sauce!

This sauce is all about the small details. It’s what sets it apart from the thousands of other tomato sauce recipes.

I’ve had the pleasure of working with many Italian chefs and even living with one. They’ve given me a lot of respect and knowledge about Italian cuisine. It’s those small details that matter!

San Marzano tomato sauced with fresh basil in a saucepan

Ingredient Information

If you regularly make Italian tomato sauces, you’ll be very familiar with these ingredients.

  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil – Use good-quality olive oil. It doesn’t need to be cold-pressed as we’ll be adding heat to it, but it should be good quality as it will add a depth of flavour to the sauce.
  • Onions – Yellow onions are the onions you’ll want to use. A large or medium-sized onion is a good size to use. 
  • Garlic – you can also use finely sliced garlic instead. Just make sure to cook it low and slow to release those sweet garlic flavours.
  • San Marzano Tomatoes – Use a San Marzano tomato brand that is ideally grown in Italy. Italian San Marzano tomatoes have the best growing conditions due to their climate and soil.
  • Basil – You can play around with the herbs to your preference. You can substitute basil for fresh parsley or dried oregano. If you’re adding dried oregano, it can be added with the tomatoes and simmered. 
Ingredients for san marzano tomato sauce including onion, basil, San Marzano tinned tomatoes, olive oil and garlic

Professional Tips & Tricks

These tips were given to me by native Italians and Italian chefs. Follow these tips if you want to make the best San Marzano tomato sauce.

Sauté the onions and garlic slowly

If you sauté onions or garlic over low heat, they start to release their natural sweetness. If you cook them over high heat, you’ll add more bitterness. 

We want this tomato sauce to be fresh and balanced without adding any sugar. To help do this, we sauté the onions and garlic slowly for longer.

If you have some extra time, you can even add an extra 5 minutes to this process.

Don’t boil the tomatoes

Bringing tomatoes to a boil isn’t a problem for many recipes, but we want to get the sauce fresh for this one. The best way to do that while cooking out some acidity is to simmer them slowly.

Step by Step Method

1) In a large pot over medium-low heat, sauté onions in the extra virgin olive oil for 6-8 minutes, until softened.

2) Add garlic and sauté for 2 minutes, making sure that neither the onions nor garlic colour.

Onions and extra virgin olive oil in a large pot
Softened onions and minced garlic slowly softening in a large pot

3) Add San Marzano tinned tomatoes and a pinch of salt, then slowly simmer for 15 minutes, mixing occasionally.

4) Mix through fresh basil, taste and season with salt if needed, then serve.

Tomato sauce slowly simmering in a pot
Simmered tomato sauce that has been mixed with fresh basil in a pot

Storage Information

Remember that delicious tomato sauce you had at that Italian? You may have never guessed that it was pre-made. This tomato sauce stores really well and can keep in the refrigerator for 3 to 5 days.

My tip is to store it in an airtight glass container! Other materials like plastic can stain as the tomatoes can start to leach until the material.

Fresh pasta dishes with San Marzano tomato sauce and basil

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San Marzano tomato sauced with fresh basil in a saucepan

San Marzano Tomato Sauce

Jack Slobodian
This San Marzano tomato sauce recipe is inspired by my time in Italy. It's super simple to make, but it makes for a delicious sauce!
This sauce is all about the small details. It's what sets it apart from the thousands of other tomato sauce recipes.
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Servings 5 people
Calories 114 kcal

Equipment

  • 1 Large Pot

Ingredients
 
 

  • 3 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 4 Garlic Cloves minced
  • 1 Onion finely diced
  • 800 g San Marzano Tinned Tomatoes
  • 1 bunch Fresh Basil sliced
  • Sea Salt

Instructions
 

  • In a large pot over medium-low heat, sauté onions in the extra virgin olive oil for 6-8 minutes, until softened.
  • Add garlic and sauté for 2 minutes, making sure that neither the onions nor garlic colour.
  • Add San Marzano tinned tomatoes and a pinch of salt, then slowly simmer for 15 minutes, mixing occasionally.
  • Mix through fresh basil, taste and season with salt if needed, then serve.

Nutrition

Calories: 114kcalCarbohydrates: 9gProtein: 2gFat: 9gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 6gSodium: 230mgPotassium: 347mgFiber: 2gSugar: 5gVitamin A: 272IUVitamin C: 18mgCalcium: 62mgIron: 2mg
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