Mom’s Tomato Sauce

The amounts are whatever amount you have, and whatever amount you think tastes good. Taste as you go and it will be delicious! Make a big batch and freeze it for summer goodness all winter long. 🙂


  • onion
  • carrots
  • cherry tomatoes (optional)
  • red wine, if you have it
  • garlic
  • tomato paste
  • lots of medium-large tomatoes
  • oregano
  • basil
  • sugar to taste (optional)


  • a large pot
  • another large pot or a frying pan
  • a slotted spoon
  • a clean sink full of ice water
  • a large colander
  • a large cutting board, preferably the kind meant for slicing a roast, with slots to contain the juices


(If you have cherry tomatoes to use, you are going to make some “paste” with them. If not, still complete this step, but leave them out. You won’t have to simmer it for quite so long.)

  1. Wash and quarter your cherry tomatoes. Chop some onion and saute in olive oil in a large pot or frying pan (if you only have one large pot, save it for the next step). Add some shredded carrots – as much as you want (you can use the food processor to shred it). Add your cherry tomatoes if using, and a splash of red wine. Cook this down for a while (30-60 min) until it thickens and smells really good. Add a lot of minced garlic towards the end.
  2. Meanwhile, bring a large pot three-quarters full of water to a boil. Wash your medium and large tomatoes. Prepare your sink full of ice water. When the water boils, carefully place as many tomatoes as will fit into the pot. Leave them there for a minute, or until some of their skins break. Remove with a slotted spoon to the sink full of water. (You will need to work in batches if you are making a big batch, so after you take out the first tomatoes, put some more in the pot and keep going until they are all in the sink.)
  3. When the tomatoes are cool enough to touch, remove the skins and stem ends and slice into halves (for magic mountain or romas) or quarters (for larger ones). Scoop the seeds out into a bowl. (I don’t worry too much here, I just do the best I can while trying to not take all day on this step!)
  4. At this point you can either add them right to your “paste” that’s been cooking down, if it was in a big pot, or put them into the pot that had the water in it and add the paste to that pot. Continue skinning and seeding the tomatoes until you’ve done them all!
  5. Add salt and pepper and some dried oregano or Italian seasoning or whatever you think will taste good. (fresh herbs are best to add towards the end, but so that some flavor is infused while it’s simmering, add some dried herbs earlier on.) Add some canned tomato paste. Simmer it for several hours. At some point toward the end add fresh oregano and “a boatload of basil” (my mom’s words). Taste it and if you think it needs it, add a bit of sugar to bring out the flavor. Adjust the salt and pepper and taste until it’s perfect.
  6. Let it cool, and (carefully) pour into freezer jars or bags. Label and freeze!


  • Sometimes I like to use this as a base for meat sauce. Just brown some grass-fed ground beef, add some sauce, and serve over pasta for a hearty meal.
  • I suppose you could also add grated summer squash to this for even more nutritional punch. I’ll try that next time.
  • It pains me to throw away all the yummy juices that come from the tomato seeds. So I took all my seeds and skins and placed them in a fine-mesh strainer over a bowl. Then I pressed with a large spoon to get out as much of the juices as possible. Then I froze this liquid to use in recipes (like a chili recipe I have) that call for “tomato juice.”