Basic red sauce

Basic red sauce

This is yet another one of those things that, no matter how I tell you to make it, someone else’s grandmother made it better. No shit, but for this is for those of you who don’t have old school grandmothers that make sauce from scratch.

This is a simple base recipe that is better than the store bought stuff yet it’s not an over the top, all day thing unless you want it to be. Yes, you’re using canned puree as a base but honestly, it’s still more effort than a lot of restaurants take in making it.


  • Knife and board
  • Large pot
  • Wooden Spoon


  • 1 large bulb of garlic
  • Half a red onion
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 12 oz tomato paste
  • 12 oz tomato puree
  • Red wine
  • Olive oil (or bacon grease)
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Fresh herbs (Oregano, thyme, basil, rosemary, see notes)

Method of Preparation

  • Mince the entire bulb of garlic, the pepper and onion and set aside
  • Get your pot heated with enough Olive oil or Bacon grease to coat the bottom
  • Add the garlic, onions and pepper and cook on medium until they’re nice and tender. Use the wooden spoon to keep in stirred.
  • Add about a cup of red wine and let it reduce by about half.
  • Add the Tomato puree and paste and cut the heat to low.
  • Taste and adjust with salt, pepper and herbs


  • If it’s too acidic, you can add a little bit of brown sugar
  • In terms of the herbs, I strongly advise you to use fresh if possible since the difference is really night and day. Also, keep in mind that when using fresh herbs, you want to add them after you’ve cut the sauce to low so that they don’t burn.
  • You can use it fresh but really, the way to do this is to make it a day or two ahead of time to really let the flavor develope.
  • If you have a hand mixer and want to use fresh tomatoes, you’re going to need about 3-4 pounds of tomatoes since a lot of the weight comes from water which is cooked off while making the sauce.
With fresh Ravioli

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