Basic Tomato Sauce for Everything

This is really the “magic sauce” because it can be adapted for many different dishes – all of them delicious. The basic tomato sauce is a classic that can be served with pasta like spaghetti or linguini to become spaghetti marinara. Or, just add a few ingredients like chopped imported olives and capers, and, presto, you’ll have a spicy topping for firm fish like tuna, halibut or swordfish. Add a few extra flakes of crushed red pepper, a squeeze of anchovy paste and a pinch of oregano and you’ll be the creator of spaghetti alla puttanesca, a notorious dish enjoyed in southern Italy. We make lots of this versatile tomato sauce to store in the fridge because it gives us several dinner options for the rest of the week.


  • Olive oil to lightly coat bottom of pan
  • 1 Medium Onion , minced
  • 1 Clove Garlic , minced
  • A few Crushed red pepper flakes
  • Several sprigs Fresh basil or parsley , or pinch of dried oregano
  • 1 Can (28 oz) Whole peeled tomatoes good quality, broken up with a fork
  • Generous pinch kosher salt and black pepper

prep / directions

Heat olive oil in a deep pan or skillet over medium heat, cooking onion and garlic until soft, about 10 minutes. Add tomatoes, juice, crushed red pepper flakes, salt, pepper and herbs and stir. Simmer on low heat for another 10-15 minutes until well blended. Serve over cooked spaghetti, adding a little of the pasta water and grated Parmesan cheese. Make extra sauce and store in the fridge for another dinner later in the week

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