How to Make the Popular Italian Tomato Sauce at Home

How to Make the Popular Italian Tomato Sauce at Home

Alessandro Clemente

Have you always wanted to master the art of cooking like the Italians? Well, the secret of their flavors lies in their sauces and cooking methods. In this blog, we have shared tips to make the popular Italian Tomato Sauce at home! You will find three different types of Italian sauces with tomato as the common ingredient - from the classic Marinara and the Italian-favourite Amatriciana to a garlicky variant. Also included are the pasta suggestions for each. 

Italian cuisine is not only a treat to the eyes but also a feast for the tummy. But, what makes this cuisine, from a small country in Europe, so famous worldwide? 

Well, it’s all about the flavors! 

To bring out the best taste, you need to spend some time simmering tomatoes or stirring cheese in the kitchen. In this blog, we have included three popular types of tomato sauces that the Italians swear by. You will find recipes of Marinara, Amatriciana, and Americanized garlicky tomato sauce that will taste just as authentic as nonna’s.  

3 Types of Italian Tomato Sauce for Pasta

Marinara

This fairly chunky, vibrant red classic Italian tomato sauce is essential for your food collection. It’s an easy and quick Italian sauce that can be made in just 10 minutes, and it has the potential to make every food 10 times more delicious. 

Ingredients:

  • Extra-virgin olive oil - 1/4 c. 
  • Onion - 1/2 medium-sized, minced
  • Garlic - 4 cloves, thinly sliced
  • Whole tomatoes - 1 (28-oz.) can
  • Dried oregano - 1 tsp. 
  • Red pepper flakes - a pinch 
  • Kosher salt - to taste 
  • Black pepper - freshly ground 
  • Fresh basil - 2 large sprigs

Instructions: 

  1. Heat oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Add minced onion and cook for 5 minutes until soft. 
  2. Add garlic and stir for 1 more minute until fragrant, but don’t overcook. 
  3. Add tomatoes. Then using a wooden spoon, break them into chunks. Fill half of the tomato can with water, and swirl to get the most out. Pour into the skillet.
  4. Use red pepper flakes, oregano, salt, and pepper to season. Take the basil sprigs and stir.
  5. Now, reduce heat to low and simmer the mixture for about 20 minutes until the water reduces to half. 
  6. Discard basil sprigs and serve warm.

Pasta Suggestion: Marinara goes well with all types of pasta from baked ziti to gnocchi and lasagna. You can also go for La San Marzano pasta sauce if you’re looking for a store-bought variant that tastes like homemade marinara.

Amatriciana

We asked the top chefs in Amatrice to name the six key ingredients of the classic Italian tomato sauce of the region. And, they counted - guanciale (cured pork cheeks), San Marzano tomatoes, white wine, pecorino cheese, chili, and pepper - in a breath. 

Ingredients:

  • Extra-virgin olive oil - 1/4 cup 
  • Guanciale or pancetta - 1/4 pound, cut into strips
  • White wine vinegar - 1 1/2 tablespoons
  • Dry white wine - 1 1/2 tablespoons 
  • Tomatoes - One 14.5-ounce can, whole peeled, crushed 
  • Pecorino Romano cheese - freshly grated
  • Salt - to taste
  • chili - to taste
  • Pepper - freshly ground
  • Water - 2 tablespoons

Instructions: 

  1. Heat the oil in a large, deep skillet. Add guanciale or pancetta and cook for 3-4 minutes until translucent.
  2. Add the tomatoes, vinegar, and water. Then, add the wine and let simmer for about 30 minutes, until thick.
  3. Use salt, pepper, and chili to season.
  4. Add and stir freshly grated pecorino before serving.

Pasta Suggestion: This Italian tomato sauce for pasta is preferred by most locals for spaghetti, bucatini, and penne preparations.  

Americanized Garlicky Tomato Sauce 

We have given the famous all'aglione of Tuscany an American twist. The generous amount of aglio (garlic in Italian) in the sauce is the main ingredient and the reason why it’s called all'aglione. It’s easy to cook and yet so flavorsome.

Ingredients:

  • Extra-virgin olive oil - 1/3 cup 
  • Garlic - 4 large cloves, thinly sliced
  • Plum tomatoes -  1 1/4 pounds, cored and chopped
  • Red pepper - 1/4 teaspoon, crushed
  •  Salt - to taste

Instructions:

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large, deep skillet over moderate heat. Add garlic and cook for about 2 minutes, until fragrant and softened. Stir continuously. 
  2. Now add the tomatoes and crushed red pepper and cook until the tomatoes break down and become saucy. It should take about 20 minutes. Stir occasionally. Then, add a generous pinch of salt and cook for 2 more minutes. 
  3. Serve warm

Pasta Suggestion: This easy DIY tomato sauce for Americans is preferred by most locals of Tuscany for pici and tagliatelle preparations. You can also try tomato basil garlic sauce if you’re a fan of basil.

Happy cooking!

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