Sugo di Pomodoro (Tomato Sauce)

I thought I would class things up a bit with my first recipe, hence the title.  I know what you’re thinking right now, you just said to yourself, “why use some crazy foreign word, when you could just say tomato sauce?”  Well, it’s very simple actually, it sounds more enticing than if it was carrying an English identification.

Sugo di Pomodoro, those soft and soothing syllables conjure up the image of you, sitting on a sun-bathed terrace, overlooking the picturesque canals of Venice, about to enjoy the very first forkfull of pasta that’s been cooked to perfection.

Tomato sauce on the other hand, brings back memories of something that was sloppily thrown over mushy noodles with the odd after taste only a high school cafeteria can provide.

Tomato sauces are a very personal thing. You may think my perfect all-purpose sauce is the best you’ve ever had, then again you may think it’s the worst one in the world and that’s completely fine (it’s your prerogative to be wrong).

Anyway, let’s get stared on my basic, all-purpose tomato sauce and please be relatively gentle when you compare it to your Italian grandmothers clearly superior version.


2 (28-oz) cans of San Marzano tomatoes (whole and peeled)

1/4 cup of olive oil

1 onion, diced

1 rib of celery, finely diced

4 cloves of garlic, finely minced

1 teaspoon of salt

2 teaspoons of sugar

1/2 teaspoon of dried Italian herbs

1/4 teaspoon of red pepper flakes

1 teaspoon Anchovy paste

1 teaspoon white wine vinegar

1 tablespoon tomato paste

2 tablespoons fresh Italian parsley, chopped

Water as needed


Only use wooden utensils with this, no metal! It’s the obligatory wooden utensil or nothing!


First finely dice the onion and celery and get it ready to go in the cooking vessel.

Diced celery and onions. 

Next we want to add our oil, celery, onion and just a pinch of salt to the pot (on medium low heat ).


You’re going to sweat the veggies on medium low heat for a long time, like 15 minutes.  We want them to get really soft and have a nice golden color.  In the meantime, let’s get our tomatoes ready!

You have to use your hands for this.  Mainly because it feels awesome and I want you to feel what I feel! 



We are using San Marzano tomatoes imported from Italy.  They are the true diva in this sauce.  They are very unique tomatoes, very meaty, long, small amount of seeds. They are just a marvelous product.  You must use these…. no substitutions!  It will be worth it, I swear.

Just put them in a bowl and crush them up with your hands.  Sure, there are better ways to do this, however there is no other way you should do this.  Just crush them up into puree type constancy.  By now your onions and celery should be sweet, golden, and beautiful!

This is what they should look like, give or take. 

You don’t want them to brown necessarily. We just want them to get nice and sweet. It’s time to add in the garlic and cook it for about 1 minute. Next add the salt, sugar, red pepper flakes, dried Italian herbs, and the anchovy paste.  That’s right, I said anchovy paste! Relax, you won’t be able to taste it. Don’t even let people know you put it in there.  Just call it a “secret ingredient” and move on.  Also, add the white vinegar.

See that sneaky “secret ingredient”… you’re going to love it.

Turn the heat up to medium and cook for a couple minutes.  You want to evaporate the majority of the liquid. You want it to look fairly dry.  Add your tomato paste and cook for about two minutes.

Look at my obligatory wooden sauce tool.

Add your San Marzano tomatoes and the fresh Italian parsley.


Add just a little bit of water to the sauce. You’re going to add some occasionally as the sauce cooks.  Bring the sauce up to a simmer, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for an hour and a half.  Every now and then give it a little stir, maybe add just a touch more water if it needs it. That’s it!

After an hour and a half of simmering you’re going to have a gorgeously delicious all-purpose tomato sauce!  It’s the perfect base for meat sauces and is just an basic overall workhorse of a sauce!

Finished product. I took the picture before I stirred it, but you get the picture here geez. 

I hope you’ll give this recipe a try for yourself and don’t worry it’s going to turn out perfectly(I believe in you)!  Feel free to adjust the seasonings and spices to your tastes, after all you’re the Rick Ross of this sauce! Thanks for the visit and until next time, Ciao!


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