My Tomato Sauce


    • 1/2 Cup Olive Oil
    • 2 Medium White Onions
    • 7 Cloves Garlic
    • 18 Ounces Tomato Paste
    • 1/2 Pound Ground Beef
    • 5 28 Ounce cans Whole Peeled Tomatoes
    • 3 Cups Water
    • 1/2 Bunch Basil
    • 1/4 Cup Oregano (less if dried)
    • 1/2 Cup Parm
    • 1/2 Teaspoon Sugar
    • Splash Balsamic
    • Salt, Pepper, Crushed Pepper Flake


    1. Dice onions, Mince garlic, Chiffonade basil and oregano (small thin strips), Grate Parm
    2. Open cans of paste from both ends. Open all cans of tomatoes and crush the tomatoes with your hands removing any tough pieces. You can do this in a larger bowl or in the individual cans
    3. Brown ground beef with some salt
    4. Get some olive oil in a pot and get it hot. Add the onions. Add salt, pepper, and crushed pepper flakes. Cook for 7 minutes. It should be sizzling the whole time but if the onions are browning, the heat is too high
    5. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute only. Add tomato paste with a pinch of salt. Cook this mixture while stirring for 5 minutes. Again- the cooking should be audible.
    6. Next add the crushed tomatoes and basil and stir to combine everything. Add the water. If you like the sauce thicker, add less, thinner, add more. When the sauce has heated through and is almost at a simmer, add the parm, oregano, sugar, and balsamic vinegar.
    7. Stir everything together and cover. Simmer on low covered for at least an hour. 2 hours or more is best.
    8. Freeze what you don't use in batches for use with 1 pound of pasta. It is perfect to take out of the freezer and cook with pasta for an easy weeknight meal.


    I’ve been making sauce for many years now.  The process started with my mom’s recipe then altering it as I learned new techniques and flavor ideas.  Some of these changes were based on tips from Mario, Giada, and other TV chefs back when I was learning how to cook, but a lot of it just came from personal preferences.  This sauce is fantastic and can be eaten as tomato soup with a spoon.

    Anywhere between 5 and 10 cloves of garlic depending on how garlicy you feel

    Lots of tomatoes, tomato paste, olive oil, diced onions, and garlic.

    This fresh baby basil was from my garden!

    I sometimes buy already crushed tomatoes, but they can be a little more bitter because the seeds get crushed up too! When I want to go all the way, I break up the whole tomatoes with my hands.

    Go ahead and mix the chopped basil right into the tomatoes.

    My mom cooks the beef in with the onions when she is building the sauce. I no longer do this, I cook the beef ahead of time and add it later. This helps the other flavors develop more richness and complexity while they are sautéing in the pan. Most importantly the onions and the tomato paste.

    Don’t drain off the fat from the beef, add it right into the sauce. Sometimes there will be a ton of fat and in that case you can get rid of some of it.

    This confusing picture is the order that things go into the pot.

    Don’t burn the garlic! Only cook it for 1 minute before adding the paste.

    Look at that beautiful color! When I first realized that you should saute the tomato paste when making sauce was when I first took it to the next level.

    Add the beef after 5 minutes.

    Then the crushed tomatoes.

    I used fresh oregano that day (also from my garden) 4 out of 5 times I use dried.

    There is a little controversy about the balsamic in this recipe. Frankly I use a splash of vinegar in my sauce when I don’t have red wine around, and I usually don’t have red wine around, so it usually gets the vinegar. If I have wine, I add a cup or so instead of the vinegar.