Quick Red Sauce

Whilst clearing out my former pantry yesterday, I found a case of tomato sauce / puree from my last warehouse run.   As I am not about to just toss it into the dumpster, I’ll pull together a couple of posts on how to use.

From Wikipedia:

Tomato sauce (also known as Neapolitan sauce, and Salsa di pomodoro in Italian) can refer to a large number of different sauces made primarily from tomatoes, usually to be served as part of a dish, rather than as a condiment. Tomato sauces are common for meat and vegetables, but they are perhaps best known as sauces for pasta dishes. Tomatoes have a rich flavor, high water content, soft flesh which breaks down easily, and the right composition to thicken into a sauce when they are cooked (without the need of thickeners such as roux). All of these qualities make them ideal for simple and appealing sauces.

The most common use of the term tomato sauce in New Zealand and South Africa is to describe a popular, commercially produced condiment, that is a type of Table Sauce, similar to American ketchup but without vinegar, typically applied to foods such as meat pies, sausages, other cooked meat, (in particular Steak) and Fish and chips. Tomato-based sauces served with pasta would commonly be referred to as “pasta sauce” or “Napoletana sauce”

Your basic tomato sauce is pretty bland stuff, we need to pump it up a bit.  I’m thinking a mirepoix, sweated until it takes on some color, perhaps some roasted garlic, maybe a touch of Cajun Trinity (a mirepoix, where the carrots are replaced with bell pepper), and of course fresh herbs.

As I also have tomato paste from the same shopping run, I’ll add some, just to deepen the tomato flavor, and boost the consistency.

Always test your basic canned sauce, open it and dip a clean finger in, taste it, does it taste good, or is it bitter?  If it is bitter, find a better brand of sauce / tomato puree, dump this can, you WILL NOT LIKE the resultant sauce.

Bitter tomato sauce usually comes from cooking tomatoes with the seeds, AKA crushed tomatoes, or diced.  As always good food starts with good ingredients.

A general comment, even in canned food, ESPECIALLY in canned food, get good quality, watch the ingredient list, and double, triple check the sodium content…  In this case my tomato sauce has nothing, but tomatoes, salt, basil, and citric acid.

Basic Red Sauce

Quick and dirty pasta sauce
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Course Ingredient
Cuisine Italian
Servings 6 people
Calories 114 kcal


  • 1 ea Large Sweet Onion Peeled, diced
  • 1 ea Carrot Peeled, diced
  • 1 ea Celery Stalk Washed, Diced
  • 1 ea Large Bell Pepper Washed, Seeded, Diced
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 ea Garlic Button Roasted
  • 1 can Tomato Sauce 28oz, Good Quality
  • 1 Bunch Fresh Parsley Washed, Dried, finely chopped
  • 1 Bunch Fresh Basil Washed, Dried, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp Oregano Dried.
  • Salt / Pepper To taste


  • In a large saute pan, not a sauce pot, Over medium high heat, add oil add carrots, (if used) Saute 3 minutes, until they begin to soften
  • Add onions, celery, Bell pepper (if used) Saute until onions turn translucent, about 5 minutes
  • Add roasted garlic, and saute 1 minute or less, until the garlic of fragrant Add 1/2 fresh herbs / oregano
  • Add tomatoes and bump up to high heat. Simmer at high for 5-7 minutes. Until just thickened
  • Taste and check flavor / seasonings
  • Remove from heat and add remaining herbs, to taste.


If the sauce gets too thick, one can add vegetable broth, or other stock.     I'll be playing with mushroom broth this evening.
As with my other basic red sauce, this can be used as part of a follow on meal.  ( A polite way of saying reuse leftovers ...
If the basic canned sauce is bitter, one MIGHT add a pinch of baking powder to try and  cut the bitterness, or add a bit of sugar.   In most cases this will not work extremely well, but it is a chance..   Most times, I will just dump the can.


Calories: 114kcalCarbohydrates: 7gProtein: 2gFat: 10gSaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 600mgPotassium: 428mgFiber: 2gSugar: 5gVitamin A: 1389IUVitamin C: 21mgCalcium: 33mgIron: 2mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

  Filed under: Basics, Italian, Sauce, Simmer

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