Tomato Basil Pasta Sauce Recipe: Simple and Delicious!

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The best things in life are often simple. While it’s a joy to spend an afternoon making pasta from scratch, it’s even better knowing the tomato and basil sauce will only take half an hour to whip up. This quick and tasty sauce is a staple in our kitchen.

What makes this sauce great is its versatility. You can make it with just pantry staples like canned tomatoes and dried basil, or use fresh ingredients if you have them. Whether you forgot to go shopping, are camping, or had your basil eaten by possums, this sauce is always doable. If you have more time and want a richer flavor, you can let it simmer longer, but if you’re in a rush, it can be ready in about ten minutes. It pairs perfectly with any type of pasta.

This is a quick sauce, cooked on high heat in a frying pan, which adds depth to the tomatoes. You don’t have to be as careful with the onions and garlic as you would for a slow-cooked sauce, but still treat them well! Use good quality extra-virgin olive oil, and plenty of it. Remember, you’re softening the onions and garlic, not frying them.

I often make this sauce in the summer when my basil is growing faster than I can use it. It’s quick, it’s easy, and everyone in the family loves it. Plus, it freezes well, so I always keep a jar in the freezer for those busy nights when we need a quick and delicious meal.

Tomato Basil Pasta Sauce Recipe

Tomato Basil Pasta Sauce Recipe

The combination of olive oil, garlic, tomatoes, and basil is a timeless favorite, and it's easy to see why. This tomato and basil sauce is rich, sweet, and a key part of my cooking routine. It was one of the first things I learned to make, and although it's simple, my family spent years perfecting the recipe. I always keep a jar of this versatile sauce in my freezer, ready to turn any meal into something delicious and filling.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Course dips and sauces
Cuisine Italian
Servings 5
Calories 205 kcal


  • Large deep frying pan
  • Knife
  • Cutting Board
  • Wooden Spoon or Spatula


  • 3 tbsp Olive oil
  • 4 Garlic cloves crushed or whole
  • 2 Cans 400g each of whole tomatoes
  • 1 bunch fresh Basil
  • 1/2 cup Water


  • In a large, deep frying pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat.
  • Turn the heat to low and add the crushed garlic. Cook for 2-3 minutes until the garlic is fragrant and soft, stirring often to prevent burning. If you prefer a milder garlic flavor, use whole cloves and cook for 2-3 minutes until they start to brown. Then, remove the garlic from the oil with a slotted spoon and set it aside.
  • If using whole canned tomatoes, gently squeeze them with your hands to break them up a bit.
  • In the same pan, add the tomatoes, water, a pinch of salt and pepper, and ¾ of the basil. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat and let it simmer for 30-40 minutes.
  • Taste the sauce as it cooks. Depending on the tomatoes you use, you might need to add a bit of sweetness. Adjust the salt and pepper to your liking.
  • Divide the sauce into portions and serve with pasta or one of my suggested recipes. You can also freeze it for later use.


  • Garlic Flavor: For a milder garlic flavor, use whole cloves instead of crushed ones.
  • Tomato Quality: The quality of your tomatoes can affect the sweetness of the sauce. Taste as you go and adjust seasoning as needed.
  • Storage: This sauce freezes well. Keep a jar in the freezer for quick and easy meals.
Keyword Basil tomato pasta at home, Fresh basil sauce, Homemade tomato sauce, How to make tomato basil pasta sauce?, Pasta sauce recipe, Tomato basil sauce simple

Nutrition Facts:


Can I Use Fresh Tomatoes Instead of Canned Tomatoes?

Can I Use Fresh Tomatoes Instead of Canned Tomatoes?

Yes, you can use fresh tomatoes. You’ll need about 8-10 medium-sized tomatoes to replace the canned ones. To prepare them, boil the tomatoes for 1-2 minutes until the skins start to peel. Then, put them in a bowl of ice water and peel off the skins once cooled. Chop the peeled tomatoes and use them as you would the canned tomatoes in the recipe.

How Long Can I Store the Sauce in the Freezer?

You can store the sauce in the freezer for up to 3 months. Make sure to let the sauce cool completely before transferring it to freezer-safe containers or jars.

Label the containers with the date, so you know how long they’ve been stored. When you’re ready to use the sauce, thaw it in the refrigerator overnight or heat it directly on the stove.

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