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Homemade Pasta Sauce Recipe and Photo Tutorial

Recipe and step by step tutorial for Homemade Pasta Sauce. I also have a recipe and tutorial for homemade pasta.

homemade pasta sauce photo tutorial

Growing up, my mom made incredible pasta sauce! After a lot of trial and error, I’ve come up with a pasta sauce my family loves, all from fresh ingredients! Here’s a photo recipe, for anyone who wants to give a homemade pasta sauce recipe a try!


What You'll Find on This Page

  • 4 cups diced tomatoes
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh basil
  • 1Tablespoon molasses
  • 1 lb hamburger
  • 1 Tbsp salt

How to Make Pasta Sauce at Home

How to make pasta sauce with fresh tomatoes

Fresh tomatoes and fresh basil (below) are the two main ingredients for this sauce! I chop up the tomatoes and let them simmer. The longer they simmer, the better the sauce, but you want them to cook for at least 45 minutes. You can add a little olive oil if you want, but it isn’t necessary (I do recommend adding it if you plan to keep your sauce vegetarian, since you need some fat in the recipe). You can blanche your tomatoes if you want the skins off; I’m too lazy to do this and my kids eat the skins just fine (they cook up pretty small, especially if you dice your tomatoes smaller than I did for this photo).

How to make pasta sauce using all-fresh ingredients

While the tomato and basil is simmering, you can add the salt and molasses (my mom’s secret ingredient).

Pasta sauce tutorial

The sauce will thicken up as the extra liquid simmers away, but you can also thicken it using corn starch! Use a spoon to remove some of the liquid from the sauce, and place it in a jar. Add some corn starch (the more you add, the thicker it will be. I usually add about a tablespoon, because I don’t let my sauce simmer as long as it would in a perfect world because I don’t usually start cooking dinner early enough for that to happen.) Shake the jar, until the corn starch is completely mixed up, then add it back into the sauce and stir. It will turn clear as it cooks.

the secret to thickening homemade pasta sauce

You can use the simmering time to cook your hamburger, garlic, and onions (add as many as you want – more garlic and more onions means a stronger garlic/onion flavor) if you are making a meat sauce. For the vegetarian version, saute garlic and onions in olive oil. My kids like very finely diced carrots added to the vegetarian version.

Making pasta sauce from scratch

Add your sauteed mixture to the main sauce, and continue to let simmer until you reach the consistency you want. I use this same sauce for lasagna, but add a little water since I use no-boil noodles, or fresh ones when I am super organized.

make delicious pasta sauce from scratch

Sometimes I make enough extra to can – beats the store bought version any day!

homemade pasta sauce recipe and photo tutorial

Do you have a from-scratch recipe that you love?

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MaryAnne is a craft loving educator, musician, photographer, and writer who lives in Silicon Valley with her husband Mike and their four children.

26 thoughts on “Homemade Pasta Sauce Recipe and Photo Tutorial”

  1. Yum! I have a homemade sauce but yours beats mine with the fresh tomatoes (I used canned). And yes, simmering tomatoes take the flavor to a whole new level. I agree, 45 minutes is the MINIMUM simmer time!

  2. Annie {Stowed Stuff}

    Yummy. I can just smell the kitchen from the photos! I’ve never used molasses in my sauce – must try it some time!

  3. Natalie PlanetSmartyPants

    This looks absolutely delicious. My husband makes a wonderful pasta sauce, and his secret ingredient is pickles :)

  4. That looks good! I’m Italian and our home made sauce is very different. We start with salt pork and special seasoning then we simmer it on low heat with tomato sauce, tomatoes, a bay leaf, garlic, garlic salt, a little pepper and a roast. We simmer the roast in the sauce for about 3 hours and it gets very tender and takes in the flavor of the sauce.

    Thanks for sharing your recipe. I might have to post mine on my blog for you. Have a terrific day!

  5. My mouth is watering! I made homemade pasta sauce when we lived in England, but I’ve fallen out of the habit. I’m definitely going to have to try your version.

    We have a slow-cooker butter chicken curry recipe we make from scratch that our whole family loves.

  6. Yum and all fresh! I should try this. I do a lot of adding to sauce, meat and veggies, but have never made the actual sauce from scratch. I use the same thickening method when I make gravy.

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