Fresh Tomato Sauce made from juicy, ripe tomatoes tastes so flavorful and makes a perfect dinner together with your favorite pasta and topped with parmesan cheese and fresh basil! This simple recipe for marinara sauce is the perfect way to use up all those fresh summer tomatoes.
Homemade Spaghetti Sauce from fresh tomatoes is one of my favorite things to make when I got lots of ripe tomatoes on hand. It’s so easy to turn fresh tomatoes from your garden or the farmers market into a delicious homemade fresh tomato pasta sauce. Using fresh tomatoes instead of canned tomatoes gives you a bright and fruity aroma.
Nothing tastes better than a homemade pasta sauce served with fresh basil and grated parmesan cheese on top – so simple but so delicious. The flavor of the sauce depends on the tomatoes you use – some are sweeter and some are tarter but in my opinion, all tomatoes make a delicious sauce. I always use what I have on hand, last week a neighbor gave a whole bag of tomatoes from his garden and even though they were small and peeling them took a little bit longer they made a delicious fresh tomato pasta sauce.
Which tomatoes are best for making sauce from fresh tomatoes
Plum tomatoes work best for making tomato sauce. If you can, use a variety of tomatoes for your tomato sauce, they will produce a balanced flavor and the pulp to juice ratio will be more balanced too. There are many different varieties of plum tomatoes e.g.:
- San Marzano
- Amish Paste
- Big Mama
Tips and Tricks for Making Homemade Fresh Tomato Sauce
- To get the most flavorful sauce use really ripe tomatoes that don’t have green spots. (Read my tips on how to ripen tomatoes below)
- Use a variety of plum tomatoes for a rich and balanced flavor.
- Some recipes tell you to remove the seeds of the tomatoes because they might make the sauce a little bit bitter but according to Cook’s Illustrated, it doesn’t make a difference. I don’t remove the seeds because the gel around the seeds holds so much flavor and it’s a lot less messy to not remove the seeds.
- Adding a ladle of the salty, starchy water from the pasta helps the sauce to stick to the pasta and makes it thicker and more flavorful. (Tipp: I also add some pasta water to the sauce if I use a glass of storebought marinara sauce.)
- This recipe makes a chunky but smooth tomato sauce. If you like your pasta sauce not-so-chunky use an immersion blender to puree it or blend it in a blender a few seconds until it reaches the desired consistency.
- I like to combine the pasta and sauce in a pot before I divide it between plates (but because it looks nicer in photos I had to make an exception this time).
- This FRESH tomato sauce tastes best FRESH in my opinion but you can store leftovers in an airtight jar in the fridge for 2-3 days.
How to Make Tomato Sauce from Fresh Tomatoes
To make sauce from fresh tomatoes start by cutting an x across the bottom of all tomatoes, then put them in boiling water for a minute. This will make it easier to remove the skin. Depending on the size of your tomatoes this might take a few minutes. Then roughly chop the tomatoes and remove the stems.
Saute your aromatics in some olive then add the tomatoes. Increase the heat to caramelize the tomatoes for a minute then add a little bit of sugar and season the sauce. Cook it until it is reduced and the sauce is thick and chunky. Add a ladle of pasta water to the sauce, this adds flavor and the starchy water will help thicken the sauce so it coats the pasta better. Serve with your favorite pasta and top with fresh basil for a pop of color and some freshly grated parmesan cheese.
How to ripen Tomatoes
Place green tomatoes in a brown paper bag together with a ripening banana or apple and leave on the counter. Check every few days. If your tomatoes only have a few green spots you can just let them sit on the counter for a few days, they will ripen within 2-3 days.
Tools and Ingredients used to make Fresh Tomato Sauce
Stockpot: I love this line of cookware! It’s worth the splurge!
Pasta Pot: This pot is super convenient and makes cooking and draining pasta super easy. I also really like the price!
Cutting Board: These boards are my favorite plastic cutting boards. They are big, have a juice groove, and tapered edges so they don’t slip around. We have a large one and a small one.
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Fresh Tomato Sauce
- 5 pounds plum tomatoes, about medium 14 plum tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ½ cup chopped yellow onion
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- Salt and ground black pepper, to taste
- ½ tsp sugar
- 1 tsp chopped fresh thyme
- 6 large fresh basil leaves, chopped
- Parmesan cheese, to serve
- Fill a large stockpot with water and bring to a boil.
- Fill a large enough bowl with ice water and put it beside the stove.
- Cut an x across the bottom of all tomatoes and put the tomatoes in the boiling water for 60 seconds.
- Use a slotted spoon and transfer the tomatoes to the ice water bowl. Let them sit in there for 1-2 minutes. Then remove the skin and roughly chop the tomatoes, discarding the stems and any white flesh. Set aside.
- Heat the olive oil in the (empty) pot over medium heat. Add the onion and saute for 4 minutes until soft. Then add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add the tomatoes and their juices and increase the heat to high. Season with salt and pepper.
- Bring to a simmer then add the sugar, basil, and thyme to the pot and reduce heat to medium-high. Cook for about 15 minutes until the tomato mixture has thickened and is reduced to about half.
- In the meantime bring a large pot of water to a boil. When it’s boiling add 1 Tbsp of salt and cook the pasta according to package instructions until al dente.
- Add ½ cup of the pasta water to the tomato sauce and adjust the seasoning, then add the drained pasta to the pot and toss it with the sauce to combine. Serve with grated Parmesan cheese.
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