Swirls of tomato sauce-coated bucatini in wooden bowl with basil garnish on beige board with napkin and fork.
Photography & Art Direction: Anthony Contrino – Food Styling: Katie Stilo

Like many Italian-Americans, my family has pasta pretty much every Sunday.   While I love a Sunday sauce loaded with all the meats, sometimes I just don’t have the patience to spend half a day making it.  This sauce is what I make when I’m feeling lazy, but want a sauce that tastes just as good.  Not only is this delicious when served with pasta, it is a versatile sauce that can be used on English muffin pizza, served with mozzarella sticks, or transformed into a creamy vodka sauce!

Everyday Tomato Sauce

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings: 10 cups


  • 3 28-ounce cans DOP San Marzano tomatoes
  • cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 5 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 large sweet onion, rough chopped
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt, plus more as needed
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Pinch red pepper flakes
  • ¼ cup packed basil leaves, 1 small handful


  • Using an immersion blender, puree the tomatoes, in the can, until smooth; set aside.
  • Meanwhile, in a large Dutch oven, warm the oil over medium heat.
  • Add the garlic and onion and sauté, stirring often, until the onions are softened, but have not taken on any color, for 6-8 minutes.
  • Add the tomatoes. Fill one of the empty cans with ½ cup cold water. Swirl the water to gather any of the residual sauce in the can. Transfer to the other two cans, working one at a time, and repeating the process. Add the water, now almost a tomato sauce of its own, to the Dutch oven.
  • Add the oregano, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes and basil. Bring to a boil, then immediately reduce the heat and simmer, stirring every 10 to 15 minutes, for 1 hour. Season with additional salt, if necessary.


If making in advance, divide the sauce into 3 quart containers and freeze for up to 2 months.
If your sauce is too acidic, add up to 1 teaspoon of sugar, adding ¼ teaspoon at a time.
Course: Sauces
Author: Anthony Michael Contrino
Large glass jar filled with tomato sauce on a cutting board with yellow onion, garlic, pepper flakes and basil
Photography & Art Direction: Anthony Contrino – Food Styling: Katie Stilo