Basic Tomato Sauce

When I arrived to Milan, I knew just one person. His name was Antonio, and he was a medical student from Sicily. As a doctor, he paid extraordinary attention to everything he ate, as a Sicilian he loved to eat well and exaggerated things dramatically.
Clearly, all of us have in mind some prejudice about other cultures and nations. Italians are thought to be loud, crazy about football, women and wine, live with their parents till 30 and eat pasta every day. But these statements are nothing but stereotypes, aren’t they?
The first day of my stay Antonio very seriously announced that (1) I had to learn how to make pasta and (2) I was very lucky to have a perfect teacher. During the next 15 minutes he had been explaining me that one needed 80-110 grams of pasta per person (you must weigh the proper portion), it was mandatory to put the alarm to boil pasta not more than the time indicated on the package, but the most important is to control the salt, as too much of it will simply kill pasta. His face expressed he was revealing to me the universe’s main secret.
Since that time I have been cooking pasta almost secretly, while my neighbors were at job not to shock them with my nonchalant approach to the holy process. I put all ingredients by feel, cook pasta as long as I feel is needed and make strange sauces. My husband says that when it comes to pasta, I am pretty barbarian 🙂
P.S. Next day I asked Antonio: “What are we going to cook?” He was surprised by the question and answered: “Pasta!”. I heard the same answer all the following days I stayed at his place. Can you believe? Italians do eat pasta every day!
They also keep it simple, making pasta preparing process as quick as possible. A tomato sauce is one of the most popular toppings.

Tomato Sauce

Tomato Sauce
Tomato sauce


For: 4 people
5 min
30 min
Ready in:
35 min


  1. Heat the olive oil in a small pot. Chop onion, and fry for several minutes on the medium heat, frequently stirring, till it becomes soft but not brown.
  2. Add canned tomatoes (I have never seen a single Italian, who bothered making sauce from fresh tomatoes), sugar, salt and basil. Mix, bring to boil, then lower the heat and cook for about 20 minutes.
  3. The sauce should be thick, but creamy. If you overcooked it and it became too dry, add a splash of pasta cooking water to bring it back to the optimal consistency


I have heard that it is better to use plum canned tomatoes for the sauce

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