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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
Keyword italian sugo, italian tomato sauce, sugo, sugo di pomodoro, sugo recipe, tomato sugo
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