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This Homemade Tomato Pasta Sauce is bursting with flavor! Rich, thick and hearty. Make extra to freeze it for when those lazy cooking days strike!

Homemade Tomato Pasta Sauce detail

This may come as a shock to you but there are nights when I just don’t feel like cooking. [Gasp!!!] I don’t feel like chopping or washing dishes. Boiling water seems like too much effort. What do I make every time the laziness hits? Homemade Tomato Pasta with meat sauce. Mmm pasta sauce. Pasta sauce on stuffed shells with meat? Sign me up!

Homemade Tomato Pasta Sauce in blue dutch oven
Homemade Tomato Pasta Sauce on wooden spoon
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I used to just crack open a bottle of my favorite brand of pasta sauce and dump it in a pot, but have you looked at those ingredients lately?! It’s horrifying. Is all that sugar and salt really necessary? And don’t get me started on “natural flavoring”. So several weeks ago (back in 2012 – can you believe how old we are getting?!) I made it my mission to create my perfect homemade pasta sauce: a little sweet, bursting with flavor and super tomatoey!

The Origins of this Homemade Tomato Pasta Sauce

I started with the recipe from The New York Times Cookbook (1961 Edition) that I picked up from The Strand Bookstore in NYC. The Strand is certainly heaven here on Earth.

Marinara on wooden spoon

Want to know another true story? When I was younger (like last week) I used to eat pasta sauce straight from the pot. In High School my mom particularly caught on to this penchant for pasta sauce and she would make a pot of pasta sauce with ground sirloin just for me! No noodles, just sauce. Isn’t she the greatest?!

I do feel like this is more socially acceptable than it sounds. Just call it gazpacho and surprisingly suddenly it’s normal.

Marinara with fresh basil

As we were! I know you’re here for the sauce. This sauce is darn good. It is rich from the tomato paste, chicken stock and all the herbs. The chicken stock is optional and, without it, it is more like my 15 Minute Pasta Sauce. I do love the additional flavor from the stock and that it bumps up the yield, so I get more sauce from the same amount of tomatoes. A little extra stove-time is all she needs to make it extra thick and luscious.

I make a large batch and then freeze the rest, so I always have it on hand for when those lazy days strike. Or just, you know, Tuesday.

You can (and should absolutely) try my ultimate lasagna recipe or this whole wheat vegetarian lasagna or pour it over homemade ricotta meatballs for a hearty meal! You know I won’t judge if you eat it straight out of the pot though!

Homemade Tomato Pasta Sauce with fresh basil
5 from 1 ratings

Homemade Tomato Pasta Sauce

This Tomato Pasta Sauce is bursting with flavor! Rich, thick and hearty. Make extra to freeze it for when those lazy cooking days strike!
Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 30 minutes
Total: 50 minutes
Servings: 4 people


  • 2 ½ cups onion chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic minced
  • 3 ½ tablespoons olive oil
  • 52 oz whole Italian tomatoes San Marzano, 2, 28 oz cans
  • 12 oz tomato paste 2, 6oz cans
  • 2 ½ cups chicken broth
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 5 sprigs basil on the stem
  • 2 sprigs oregano on the stem
  • 3 sprigs thyme on the stem
  • ¼ teaspoon dried sage


  • Gently sauté the onion and garlic in the olive oil until onion is transluscent, stirring often. Add the tomatoes and crush by hand. Add the tomato paste, broth, herbs, bay leaf, salt and pepper.
  • Simmer uncovered about two hours, stirring occasionally.
  • Remove the bay leaf. The sauce should be thick. Continue to cook if you would like it thicker.
  • Add browned meat of choice, pour over pasta, use in lasagna or chicken parmesan, or just eat it with a spoon!



The original recipe has the same herbs but they were all chopped. I don’t have the patience for that these days, so I updated it for my current version. Still just as flavorful, but with half the work! 


Calories: 234kcal | Carbohydrates: 28g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 3mg | Sodium: 1124mg | Potassium: 828mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 14g | Vitamin A: 495IU | Vitamin C: 29mg | Calcium: 120mg | Iron: 3mg
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Italian
Calories: 234
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Hi, I’m Chef Lindsey!

I am the baker, recipe developer, writer, and photographer behind Chef Lindsey Farr. I believe in delicious homemade food and the power of dessert!

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  1. Hey,
    This pasta recipe is amazing for dinner and family as always, but Italian pizza is what i will never try again as long as i live.
    Best Regards.

  2. How much does this recipe yield? (Approx how many jars/cans). I need to make enough sauce for meatballs and chicken both in separate crock pots. Thanks!!!

    1. It makes about 3 pints but that ultimately depends on how much you cook it down. If it get too thick, you could always add more broth. Without knowing how many meatballs or chicken, I couldn’t tell you if it makes enough.

  3. I was wondering how much pasta sauce does this recipe make? I looked everywhere I hope I didn’t miss it that would be embarrassing.

    1. You didn’t miss it! I’ll update the recipe now! It makes about 3 pints, but it will ultimately depend on how much you cook it down. I like my sauce thick!

  4. I almost always have homemade tomato sauce in the freezer! So nice for a quick meal. The Strand is great – I love that book store. I could spend days there. 😉

    1. Right now I freeze mine too, but I would love to try my hand at canning it to free up space! My freezer is groaning as it is 🙂

      Sigh – The Strand…Atlanta is so far away

  5. Great photos!I can practically taste that chunky, tomatoey (?!) sauce… must make it soon. Love it plain too! Perhaps you could provide an option using fresh tomatoes?

    1. Yes, I made that word up! Tomatoey. Just filling a gap in the English language 😉

      I’d love to try it with fresh tomatoes! The tomatoes around here haven’t been looking that great…

    2. The Chicken Bouillon wouldn’t be too suitable as an ingredient for a pasta sauce used for Vegetable Lasagna , vegetable or vegetarian pasta or whatever

  6. Mmmmm I love a good tomato sauce and this recipe looks FAAAAB

    (oddly enough I’ve never bought anything from The Strand…i think I avoid it for my wallet’s sake. The key to not overspending in NYC=avoidance)

    1. I love it – Let me know what you think if you try it!

      Lol! I believe it! Part of me is super jealous that you could pop by The Strand anytime and part of me is still relieved for my wallets sake. Have you visited Kitchen Arts & Letters on Lexington & 93rd? Yeah, a bookstore devoted to cooking. Heaven on Earth.