Sugo di Pomodoro ~ Authentic Italian Tomato Sauce

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This sugo di pomodoro, is an easy, authentic Italian tomato sauce made with tomatoes, onion, garlic, olive oil, and basil. Ideal for busy weeknights as well as easy entertaining. And since a pot of this wonderful sauce only costs about $5 to make, it’s budget-friendly, too.

People gathered around a cast-iron skillet on a wooden board with some spaghetti and red sauce.

A red sauce that comes together with ease and makes you grateful to exist is something we all require. This is it. Simple enough for weeknights. Sufficiently impressive for entertaining.–David Leite


Why our testers loved this

Simple, quick, and delicious.” “Elegant in its simplicity.” “This is not Sunday gravy but it sure as heck is good.” “I’m filing this recipe away to make again…repeatedly.” That’s what folks are saying about this sugo recipe.

Notes on ingredients

  • Whole peeled tomatoes–The flavor of your sugo di pomodoro is going to be dependent on the quality of tomatoes you use. If you can find San Marzano tomatoes, we recommend using them.
  • Red pepper flakes–These are optional but add a wonderful spiciness to the sauce.
  • Fresh basil–We recommend using fresh basil for the best flavor in your sauce. However, in a pinch, you can substitute 1 tablespoon of dried basil.

How to make this recipe

  1. Sauté the onion in oil until softened. Add the garlic and cook until it begins to brown. Stir in the pepper flakes, if using.
  2. Dump in the tomatoes and season with salt and pepper. Cover and simmer until slightly reduced.
  3. Stir in the basil leaves.

Recipe FAQs

How should I serve my sugo?

For an easy inexpensive meal, simply toss your tomato sauce with pasta or gnocchi and shower it with Parmesan cheese. For a heartier meal, add some beef meatballs. You could also use this sauce for making eggplant Parmesan.

My tomato sauce tastes too acidic. How can I fix it?

Sprinkle in a pinch of baking soda, which will help to neutralize the acid. Alternatively, a pinch of sugar will also help to balance the flavor.

Helpful tips

  • If your finished sauce is too runny, simmer uncovered for an additional 15 to 20 minutes or until it’s reduced to your desired consistency.
  • The recipe makes enough sauce to cover up to 1 pound of pasta.
  • Leftover sauce can be stored in the refrigerator in a sealed container for up to 5 days or frozen for up to 6 months. Thaw in the refrigerator before reheating.
  • This recipe is suitable for gluten-free, dairy-free, or vegan diets.
A child eating a bowl of cooked pasta with red sauce.

More great tomato sauce recipes

☞ If you make this recipe, or any dish on LC, consider leaving a review, a star rating, and your best photo in the comments below. I love hearing from you.–David

Sugo di Pomodoro ~ Authentic Italian Tomato Sauce

People gathered around a cast-iron skillet on a wooden board with some spaghetti and red sauce.

This red sauce, or sugo di pomodoro, is an easy, classic Italian tomato sauce made with tomatoes, onion, garlic, olive oil, and basil. Ideal for busy weeknights as well as easy entertaining.

Prep 15 mins

Cook 30 mins

Total 45 mins

  • If you prefer a smooth red sauce, dump the tomatoes and their juices in a food processor or stick an immersion blender in the opened can and purée the tomatoes until smooth. If you prefer a red sauce with a chunky consistency, don’t do anything to the tomatoes just yet. Instead, wait and break the tomatoes up in the pan with a wooden spoon.
  • In a large saucepan, warm the oil over medium heat until hot. Add the onion and cook until softened, 5 to 6 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until it begins to brown. If your prefer your red sauce with a little kick, add the red pepper flakes.

  • Dump in the tomatoes and season with salt and black pepper. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 30 minutes, until the sauce is reduced slightly. (If you did not purée the tomatoes, use a wooden spoon to break them into pieces while they cook.)
  • If the sauce is still a little runnier than you prefer, uncover and simmer until reduced to the desired consistency.

  • Stir in the basil and remove the pan from the heat. You’ll have sufficient red sauce to toss with a pound of pasta.

  1. Fixing acidic sauce–If your tomato sauce tastes too acidic, sprinkle in a pinch of baking soda.
  2. Storage and freezing–Leftover sauce can be stored in the refrigerator in a sealed container for up to 5 days or frozen for up to 6 months. Thaw in the refrigerator before reheating.
  3. Dietary–This recipe is suitable for gluten-free, dairy-free, or vegan diets.

Serving: 1portionCalories: 87kcal (4%)Carbohydrates: 6g (2%)Protein: 1g (2%)Fat: 7g (11%)Saturated Fat: 1g (6%)Polyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 5gSodium: 148mg (6%)Potassium: 219mg (6%)Fiber: 1g (4%)Sugar: 3g (3%)Vitamin A: 173IU (3%)Vitamin C: 11mg (13%)Calcium: 40mg (4%)Iron: 1mg (6%)

#leitesculinaria on Instagram If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #LeitesCulinaria. We’d love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

#leitesculinaria on Instagram If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #LeitesCulinaria. We’d love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.





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