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+ servings
small round jar filled with italian tomato sauce with basil leaves on top.

Italian Tomato Sugo Recipe

A simple Italian tomato sugo recipe – this is an incredibly flavorful tomato or pomodoro sauce made with just a few ingredients and ready in about 30 minutes.
Course Main Course, Pasta Recipes
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings 8 portions
Calories 101kcal
Author Adina


  • Large saucepan


  • 1 bottle passata di Pomodoro 25 fl.oz/ 750 ml
  • 1 can tomatoes chopped, 14 oz/ 400 g Notes 1,2,3
  • 1 small onion finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil + extra for drizzling
  • 1 teaspoon sugar more if necessary
  • 2 sprigs fresh basil divided
  • ¾ teaspoon fine sea salt or Kosher salt, more to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper more to taste


  • Tomatoes: If the tomatoes are fresh, peel and chop them finely. If the canned tomatoes are whole, chop them finely. Set them aside.
  • Sauté: Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Cook 1 small finely chopped onion with a pinch of salt on medium-low heat for about 6 minutes until soft. It should get golden and not brown; if it colors too quickly, reduce the heat to very low. Stir often.
  • Add passata, chopped tomatoes (or fresh chopped tomatoes), ½ teaspoon fine sea salt, ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper, 1 teaspoon granulated sugar, and one sprig of fresh basil (left whole).
  • Simmer: Cover the pot leaving a small crack open, bring the sauce to a simmer and cook slowly for 30 minutes until it is slightly thicker, occasionally stirring.
  • Adjust the taste with more salt, pepper, and a little more sugar if necessary. Remove the cooked basil sprig. Stir in the chopped basil leaves and add a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.
  • Optional: Blend the sugo until you reach the desired consistency; you can make it completely smooth (I never blend it all).


  1. Use high-quality passata and canned tomatoes. DOP San Marzano tomatoes would be perfect.
  2. If using fresh tomatoes, you will need about 2 ½ lbs (1200 g). Ensure that they are ripe and sweet; it’s preferable to use garden tomatoes or buy them at the farmer’s market.
  3. Remove the peel from fresh tomatoes before chopping them (See Expert Tips).


Serving: 1portion from 8 | Calories: 101kcal | Carbohydrates: 13g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Sodium: 252mg | Potassium: 576mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 949IU | Vitamin C: 18mg | Calcium: 27mg | Iron: 2mg