Make tomato sauce the Italian way... in 3 steps!

The idea seems too complicated to you? Fine, it’s true it can’t be done in 15 minutes, so why not plan a wonderful day of cooking outside? Set yourself up at the garden table, a glass of red nearby, for an activity that you can share with friends. If you have a gas burner to boil corn (also easily found at a rental outlet), you can do the whole process outside and leave the kitchen mess-free.


My first pleasure is to head to the market to buy baskets of Italian tomatoes. A basket should give you around 14 one-litre jars (4 cups). Ideally, select San Marzano or Romanello tomatoes. They are ideal because they are not very watery and have few seeds. The cooking time to make sauce will take longer if you have juicy red tomatoes from the garden. I really like using them to make juice and soup. Besides the type of tomato, quality and degree of maturity matter too.

I always taste a tomato out of the basket first. Buy your tomatoes two or three days before making the sauce. Place them on a sheet outside or inside the house, but never in the sun.

This ripening period maximizes the flavour. You start by blanching the tomatoes, putting them in boiling water for two or three minutes according to their maturity. After removing them from the water, cut each one in half to check inside. Place damaged tomatoes aside.

The puree

You need to invest in a handle tomato crusher machine to easily make tomato sauce. This appliance runs around $60. There are very efficient electric crushers but they are a lot more expensive. The investment will be worth every penny if this becomes an annual event for you. Since it is something you take off the shelf once a year, it is the kind of appliance that could be bought among friends. After blanching the tomatoes, put them in the tomato crusher and, like magic, the puree comes out one end and the skin and seeds stay behind. It is a quick process from start to finish, or veloce (fast) as they say in Italian. This machine can also be used to make juice out of red tomatoes.

The sauce

Cook the puree for an hour and a half in a large pot at medium heat. Cooking time depends on the desired amount and consistency. Just stir and skim as needed while the puree is cooking. A nice finishing touch is to add a few basil leaves into each sterilized jar as you pour the sauce. If you plan to store it in the basement or cold room, sterilize the sauce jars for 35 minutes in boiling water.