Fresh Garden Tomato Sauce


I'm showing you how to make a tomato sauce using fresh tomatoes. You'll often hear me say in these videos that what we're making is way better than what you can buy at the store and with this, not only is it better, but you literally can't get this at a store! If you've never done this before, I think you'll be surprised at how simple and easy it is-in fact, the hardest thing will be finding vine-ripened tomatoes.

Prep Time:
15 mins
Cook Time:
20 mins
Total Time:
35 mins
10 servings

As you know, I'm not above opening a can of tomatoes or jar of prepared sauce to use with pasta. In fact, I do it proudly with zero shame. But when it's the middle of fresh tomato season, and the vines in our garden are heavy with this glorious fruit, all of a sudden I turn into a major food snob. Nothing but the homemade stuff will do.

Of course, it's a little more effort. But just barely! And the results are spectacular. In a perfect world, I'd be using nothing but plum-style tomatoes for this. Unfortunately, I didn't grow enough of those this season, so I've been simply picking and saucing everything that's ripe.

If you're going to use the same approach, please note that you'll have to let your sauce simmer for a while to reduce and thicken it. I like to keep my fresh garden tomato sauce fairly thin, so I reduce it at the same time I'm finishing my pasta in the pan. I really hope you give this amazing sauce a try soon. Enjoy!

Fresh Garden Tomato Sauce
Chef John

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  • 3 tablespoons olive oil

  • 3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

  • 8 leaves fresh basil

  • 5 pounds vine-ripened tomatoes, seeded and quartered

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste

  • teaspoon red pepper flakes


  1. Heat olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat and add sliced garlic. Cook and stir for about 30 seconds before adding basil leaves. Sizzle garlic and basil in olive oil until the thinnest slices of garlic just start to turn golden. Quickly transfer in tomatoes. Add salt and pepper flakes and increase heat to medium-high.

  2. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture simmers and the tomatoes have completely collapsed and liquefied. Turn off the heat.

  3. Using a strainer or colander, strain the sauce into another pot, pressing everything through with the back of a ladle or spatula, until nothing is left in the colander except the skins and seeds.

  4. Place strained sauce back over medium heat and reduce to about 5 cups, or until desired thickness. Taste for seasoning and use immediately, or store in an airtight container until needed.


Chef's Notes:

Using red pepper flakes is optional.

Try this with my Pasta all'Amatriciana!

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

78 Calories
5g Fat
9g Carbs
2g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 10
Calories 78
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 5g 6%
Saturated Fat 1g 3%
Sodium 12mg 1%
Total Carbohydrate 9g 3%
Dietary Fiber 3g 10%
Total Sugars 6g
Protein 2g
Vitamin C 29mg 146%
Calcium 25mg 2%
Iron 1mg 4%
Potassium 544mg 12%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.

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