This classic Italian pomodoro sauce is simple but delicious. Easy to make but full of flavor, this is our go-to tomato sauce and reminds me of being in Italy! Made with San Marzano tomatoes, basil, a little garlic, and olive oil, it’s perfect on any pasta.
What Makes This Recipe So Good
- This is my family’s favorite tomato sauce, hands down. It’s full of rich, classic flavors that instantly take me right back to our trips to Italy. Pasta pomodoro is a giant bowl of comfort in my house.
- It’s so easy to make! You’ll never want the store-bought, jarred sauce again.
- Pomodoro sauce is intended to be just enough to cover the noodles, but not so much that you’re having a few noodles with your sauce. That makes it a great option if you (or your kids) aren’t big on sauces.
- It’s good on literally any type of pasta, even gnocchi or ravioli. You can also use it on top of chicken, a la chicken parmesan, or with hearty meatballs.
Is This Sauce the Same as Marinara Sauce?
No, but they are similar!
Marinara is a thinner red sauce that’s simmered for a long time over low heat. It’s usually a little chunky, too. Pomodoro is smoother and thicker.
Fun fact: While both sauces are made from tomatoes, only one is named for them. “Pomodoro” means “tomato” in Italian. “Marinara” comes from “marinaro”, which translates to “seafaring”. It’s thought to have been the sauce-of-choice for Italian sailors.
San Marzano Tomatoes – These are SO great for homemade sauces! They’re beautiful red plum tomatoes that are the perfect blend of sweet, acidic, and tomato-ey.
Olive Oil – You can use regular olive oil or extra virgin olive oil in your sauce. EVOO is less processed than regular olive oil, so it generally retains more of its nutrients and has a nicer olive flavor. Don’t underestimate the impact of a really nice olive oil!
Basil – I love fresh basil in a pomodoro sauce! It’s fresh and strong, without overpowering the dish. Save a little extra to sprinkle on top of your pasta pomodoro just before serving!
- An immersion blender is the easiest way to purée the tomatoes. Just move the saucepan off the heat and blend them in it. No need to transfer them to another container.
- If you don’t have an immersion blender, you can use a regular blender instead. Be sure to reference the notes of the recipe card for tips on blending hot mixtures. If you’re not careful, the pressure from the steam inside the blender can build up to a dangerous (and messy) level.
- Store any leftover pomodoro sauce in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It’ll keep up to 1 week!
Other Delicious Italian-Inspired Recipes You’ll Love
- Chicken Carbonara
- Healthy Chicken Alfredo with Spaghetti Squash (Whole30, Paleo, Dairy Free)
- Eggplant Lasagna
- Baked Feta Pasta
- One-Pot Chicken Pesto Pasta
- Antipasto Salad with Easy Italian Vinaigrette
- Keto Spaghetti
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium onion finely chopped
- 3 large cloves garlic minced, approximately 2 tablespoons
- 2 28-ounce cans whole San Marzano tomatoes in purée, 56 ounces total
- ¼ cup fresh basil
- 1 ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Large saucepan (6- or 8-quart)
- Large spoon or silicone spatula
- Immersion blender (or blender)
- Heat saucepan over medium-high heat. When hot, add olive oil, then onions. Sauté until onions are very soft, approximately 8-10 minutes.
- Reduce heat and add garlic. Sauté just until fragrant, 30-60 seconds, stirring constantly.
- Add tomatoes. Bring mixture to boil over high heat, stirring occasionally, then lower heat to simmer. Cook, uncovered, 20 minutes, then stir in basil and cook an additional 5 minutes.
- Remove saucepan from heat. Season with salt and pepper.
- Insert immersion blender and purée until mostly smooth and thick. See notes if using blender.
- Stir into or dollop on top of pasta of choice and serve warm.
- Fill the blender no more than halfway. You may have to blend your ingredients in a few batches.
- After pouring the mixture into the blender, let it sit a few minutes to cool slightly before blending.
- Before blending, remove the center cap from the blender lid and cover the hole with a dish towel instead. This will keep pressure from building up inside the blender. Keep your hand on the lid to hold it down while blending.
Number of total servings shown is approximate. Actual number of servings will depend on your preferred portion sizes.
Nutritional values shown are general guidelines and reflect information for 1 serving using the ingredients listed, not including any optional ingredients. Actual macros may vary slightly depending on specific brands and types of ingredients used.
To determine the weight of one serving, prepare the recipe as instructed. Weigh the finished recipe, then divide the weight of the finished recipe (not including the weight of the container the food is in) by the desired number of servings. Result will be the weight of one serving.