Easy Italian Tomato Sauce

It’s taken me a while to be willing to share this recipe. You know when you make something that is just damn good, and it becomes your thing? That’s sauce for me. Well, at least to my kids it’s “mom’s thing.” The funny thing is it’s just a few ingredients, and I start with canned tomato sauce and paste. It’s so fast and easy but tastes like it should be an old family recipe from Nonna. (which I suppose someday it will be).

I would absolutely love to make sauce every week with garden fresh tomatoes, but I live in northern Illinois where our tomato season is so fast, if you blink, you’ll miss it, and I am a busy mom who sometimes has no idea what’s for dinner until about 5:00. This sauce is my go to on those days since I pretty much always have the ingredients in the pantry.

Easy Italian Tomato Sauce

Recipe by Melissa Nicholson Cuisine: Italian


Prep time


Cooking time



There’s an age-old debate between the words gravy and sauce…I don’t have the answer; however, I like my “sauce” really smooth, so maybe it would be called “gravy” by some people. I use a whisk when I mix in the paste so it’s nice and smooth.


  • 3 15 oz 3 plain canned tomato sauce

  • 1 12 oz 1 canned tomato paste

  • 1/2 cup 1/2 red wine (cabernet works well)

  • 1 tsp 1 crushed garlic (I like the crushed garlic in a jar)

  • 1 tbsp 1 oregano

  • 1 tbsp 1 basil

  • 3 tbsp 3 sugar


  • Dump the canned ingredients into a medium saucepan over low heat and whisk together until smooth.
  • Add the wine and whisk again.
  • Add all other ingredients and stir with a wooden spoon.
  • Keep the sauce on the lowest heat and stir often. Don’t let the sauce boil or stick to the bottom.
  • If you have to walk away, it’s best to turn it off, then heat thoroughly before serving…just allow time for a slow warm-up rather than a high heat. It really changes the flavor of tomato sauce.


  • I use one of the big tablespoons from my flatware when measuring the sugar. I like my sauce sweet. A measuring tablespoon works just as well; it’s just a little less sweet. This is a recipe I have never measured for, so I tried to get everything as accurate as possible. It passed the family taste test. 😉 Also, I use this same sauce recipe for my lasgana.


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Meet Melissa

Bourbon stole my heart a few years ago when I had several opportunities to write about it. Food stole my heart when I was lucky enough to be raised by a mom who managed to make nearly everything from scratch when we were growing up.