Italian cooking is all about good quality, fresh ingredients. Choosing San Marzano tomatoes will bring your tomato sauce to a whole new level.
When I first moved in with my Italian husband (boyfriend at the time), I knew that I had big shoes to fill when it came to cooking. For years I attempted to make a good clean tomato sauce from scratch that would rival what he was use to.
Only when I started using fewer and higher quality ingredients did my tomato sauce really start to come together. This recipe is simple and fresh.
San Marzano tomatoes are, of course, the key ingredient for creating a delicious San Marzano tomato sauce. They can be found in most well stocked grocery stores in the canned tomato aisle. To me (and many others) they are the best type of canned tomato to cook with because they have a sweet flavor, low acidity, firm pulp and low seed count.
I also discovered that good quality olive oil elevates your sauce to that next level as well. While it’s tempting to go for the less expensive oil, when it comes to making a tomato sauce, try to buy the best olive oil you can. See our recommendations for which oils are best in our post Cooking Oils: The Bare Essentials.
Ways to Use San Marzano Tomato Sauce
- This basic sauce can be used on pizza, over pasta, for sub sandwiches, with meatballs, as a foundation for tomato curries and in casseroles. Here are a few recipe ideas: 30 minute Squash, Tomato and Spinach Curry. Easy Skillet Pizza and Indian Butter Gnocchi with Spinach.
Tailor To Your Taste
- Add fresh chopped basil at end of cooking.
- Drizzle some good quality extra virgin olive oil after cooking or when serving.
- Add cooked meatballs to the sauce and simmer for 20-30 minutes.
- Cook the sauce longer to make it thicker for a great pizza sauce.
- The sauce can be made ahead and kept in a sealed container in the fridge for 5-6 days. It can also be frozen in ziploc bags for 4-6 months.
Simple San Marzano Tomato Sauce
- 2 Cans of San Marzano Tomatos Packed in Puree (796ml/can)
- 4 tbsp Good Quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 2 Small/Medium Cooking Onions, diced (I use a food processor to dice them)
- 6 Cloves of Garlic, minced or finely chopped
- 2 tsp Salt
- SAUTE ONIONS AND GARLIC: Heat Oil in a medium-large pot and put on medium heat. Add onions and cook for about 5 minutes until translucent. Add the minced garlic, cooking it for another minute. I like my sauce to be garlicky so I use 8 cloves, but if you are looking for a more subtle flavor, use 6.
- ADD TOMATOES: (Prepare to have messy hands!) Take out tomatoes one or two at a time and squish them in your hands over the pot to break them apart. I usually take off the top part where the stem was attached and throw it out. Add the puree from the cans and the salt as well. Stir.
- SIMMER: Bring tomato sauce to a boil and then lower it to a medium-low heat to simmer for 45-60 minutes depending how thick you like your sauce and how watery your tomatoes are. Stir occasionally.
- FINISH SAUCE: Once the sauce has thickened (It shouldn't be a paste, but should not be watery either), remove it from heat. Taste and adjust seasoning to your liking. If preferred, you can puree it or just partly puree the sauce with an immersion blender. Serve on your favorite pasta, in a casserole, with meatballs or on pizza.
Here are a few other recipes where we use beautiful sweet San Marzano tomatoes: