Monday, March 25, 2013

Recipe: Classic fresh tomato sauce (for pasta) (Delia Smith)

When it comes to pasta, I will usually pick a simple mushroom pasta, pesto pasta or creamy carbonara over a tomato-based pasta. I find that tomato based pasta, either using sauce from a jar or made from scratch using tinned tomatoes to be a bit too tart for my liking. However, I finally found a tomato sauce (for pasta) that I really like, and it's all thanks to Delia Smith's recipe yet again!

Classic fresh tomato sauce, great for pasta!

Delia's classic fresh tomato sauce is made using a few simple ingredients - ripe, red tomatoes, onion, garlic, and fresh basil leaves. That's it! According to Delia, you can make a huge batch of this and reheat it whenever required, since it freezes well. Of course, it is a little more work than opening a jar of pasta sauce but you will be rewarded with a sauce which doesn't taste too concentrated or artificial but of pure fresh tomatoes. The basil brings out the best of the tomatoes, so don't omit these either.

How to skin tomatoes - pour hot water over it and leave for 1 minute and the skin slips off easily
(L-R Unpeeled tomato, semi-peeled, skinned tomato)

According to Delia, it will take about 1 1/2 hours to get it to a jam-like consistency. After making pineapple jam from scratch last time, I learnt that using a wok helps speed up the evaporation process and I took 45-50 minutes for mine to get to a nice consistency.

Nowadays, if my kids enjoy something I cook, they would tell me to make it again. And this fresh tomato sauce is one of them! :) I served this fresh tomato sauce with spaghetti and meatballs (recipe here). It is also very good served straight with spaghetti for a vegetarian dish - simple and nice.

Classic fresh tomato sauce
Recipe adapted from Delia Smith
Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 45-60 minutes
Serves 3-4

800g fresh, red, ripe tomatoes
1 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion,peeled and finely chopped
1 fat clove garlic, peeled and crushed
1 tsp tomato puree
Approximately 10 large fresh basil leaves
Salt and freshly milled black pepper

1. First skin the tomatoes. To do this, pour boiling water over them and leave them for exactly 1 minute or, if the tomatoes are small, 15-30 seconds, before draining and slipping off their skins (protect your hands with a cloth if they are too hot). If you took them straight out of the fridge, you may want to leave them for an extra 30 seconds. Roughly chop all the tomatoes. 

2. Heat the oil in a large wok (learnt from my pineapple jam making, larger surface area will speed up the evaporation and reduction of liquid), then add the onion and garlic and let them gently cook for 5-6 minutes, until they are softened and pale gold in colour.

3. Add the chopped tomatoes, tomato puree and about a third of the basil, torn into pieces. Season with some salt and black pepper, then let the tomatoes simmer on a low heat, without a lid, for approximately 45-60 minutes or until almost all the liquid has evaporated and the tomatoes are reduced to a thick, jam-like consistency, stirring now and then.

4.Stir in the rest of the torn basil leaves. This fresh tomato sauce is ready to be used on your pasta dishes. 


I am submitting this to the "Cook Like Delia Smith" bloghop which I am co-hosting with Zoe of Bake for Happy Kids and Mich of Piece of Cake. To join, simply cook or bake any recipe from any Delia Smith websites or cookbooks and blog hop with us for the whole month of March 2013.

Your post must be a current post i.e. posted in March 2013 - please do not link older posts.Please mention Cook like a Star in your post and link back to Zoe of Bake for Happy Kids, Mich of Piece of Cake and Baby Sumo of Eat your heart out.

You can get the HTML code here: get the InLinkz code (Click on the link, copy and paste the HTML code into your blog post where you want the blog hop list to appear. Make sure you are in HTML mode when you paste in the code)

Happy cooking! Do check out the other bloggers recipe below:

I am also submitting this to my friend mui mui's Little Thumbs Up "Tomato" event.


  1. yum yum! super healthy but tasty.. best nya!

  2. Good morning, this sauce is easy and cheap too, I like:D good to have in the fridge for lazy days!

    1. Yes certainly. I would have to make a bigger batch next time and store some in the fridge.

  3. It will be nice to have one jar of this homemade tomato sauce in our fridge. When lazy to go out to eat, just use that for simple pasta. :P

  4. It would be much healthier to prepare own tomato sauce for pastas.

    1. Haha yes for sure, just a little time consuming.

  5. Can't wait to see your pasta dish! I also find jar tomato paste to be too tart for me, so I usually add lots of savoury meat to balance it out (sausage, bacon, etc)

    1. Will post it tomorrow morning since I have a few more Delia recipes to post before the end of the month! Usually those tomato sauce from jars are so tart that it makes me hungry within 1 hour of eating dinner.

  6. Beautiful tomato sauce... never made my own as can just buy from the supermarket but I should try it sometime.

    1. Since my kids love this, it gives me an excuse to make more.

  7. The canned ones sometimes have a very "canned" and preserved flavour which can be quite a turn off. The ones in jars are slightly better but nothing beats homemade. I would like to try this cause I really like tomato paste. Thank you for sharing.

    1. You're welcome. Try it once and if you like it, then make a huge batch to freeze :)

  8. I like it - it's appetizing without being too tart.

  9. Love homemade tomato sauce ! This sauce sounds good and you can use it to flavor some dishes as well :D

    1. Haha didn't get a chance to use it on other dishes this time, since the kids licked their bowls clean!

  10. Hi Yen,

    Looking how easy you made your fresh tomato sauce from scratch, I'm now feeling guilty of using pasta sauce in jars for my weekdays cooking :p


  11. Yen,
    Your fresh tomato sauce look so good.
    I must make some of this to cook my pasta meat balls.
    Home made ones will be so so much better then jar ones:p

  12. Thank you for this simple excellent recipe. I made it today and it turned out great!


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