Pomodoro sauce from scratch or Sugo recipe, a simple authentic classic Italian tomato sauce brimming with slow cooked layers of flavor. Originally from Naples and made with San Marzano tomatoes otherwise known as The Sauce! Mangia!
What Is Pomodoro Sauce?
A simple tomato sauce that is incredibly flavorful and easy to make with canned or fresh tomatoes in 1 Pot. The secret to the best Sugo al pomodoro sauce hides in the patience one needs to slow cook, stir and watch it slowly reduce into a silky thick blanket of savory goodness. Homemade comfort, naturally gluten free and vegan recipe.
Unlike Arrabiata which is spicy with an angry attitude, the pomodoro is mild with delicious depth of flavor from the slow cooking and reduction process and the use of non-acidic San Marzano tomatoes.
Using Canned Tomatoes
The best tomatoes for slow cooked sauces are the San Marzano variety and nobody can tell me different. Make sure they have an official D.O.P certified seal (Protected Designation of Origin) meaning they were grown in the volcanic soils near Mount Vesuvius outside of Naples. The flavor is naturally sweet not acidic, and the delicious aromas intensify as the sauce cooks down. Use both the peeled whole tomatoes and the light puree they come packed in.
Using Fresh Tomatoes
Pomo D’oro translating as “golden apple” in reference to the abundant yellow cherry tomatoes that were also used to make this sauce from scratch. If using cherry tomatoes they can be added straight into the sauce pot with the aromatics then blended into a smooth luscious sauce once they have released all their juices.
Alternatively you can use a variety of fresh garden tomatoes like San Marzano, Plum tomatoes, Roma and even heirlooms. If using large fresh tomatoes you’ll need to blanch them first. Carve a small X on the bottom of each tomato then plunge them in hot boiling water for a minute or two until you see the skins split. Transfer them into a bowl of ice water until cool, remove the skins then crush them and follow the sauce recipe.
- Onion – Finely diced yellow or white onion sautéed until soft and they start to get just a little color around the edges. This is your first aromatic layer and what your sauce will build on.
- Garlic – A few finely minced cloves, just enough for a mild flavor but without dominating the rest of the ingredients.
- Bay Leaves – I love the mild peppery aroma of bay in my sauces and really anything slow cooked. Use one or two here, you’ll love it!
- Basil – This is optional but I love adding one sprig to simmer away with the sauce for a light floral aroma.
- Olive Oil – Just a drizzle of regular olive oil to get things going; for finishing and serving the sauce bring out that good bottle of cold pressed extra virgin. (For WFPB omit oil and use a splash of water or veggie stock instead).
- Pasta – The traditional choice for pasta pomodoro is spaghetti, I however prefer bucatini or rigatoni because I make my sauce thicker. Really any pasta you love will be delicious coated in this sauce.
What Is the Difference Between Marinara and Pomodoro Sauce?
Pomodoro is generally a simpler but thicker sauce with more of a rustic texture from using crushed tomatoes. Marinara’s consistency could be thinner and runnier, but it really depends on the chef; however it does have more ingredients like pepper flakes, oregano, basil, maybe even fennel, which creates a different flavor profile. The Devil is in the details!
On Storage + Reheating
- Store – The sauce keeps well in the fridge in a lidded jar/ container for up to a week.
- Freeze – This is also a great sauce to freeze for a rainy day, use freezer bags, lidded glass containers or large silicone ice cube molds. Remember to thaw out in the morning or overnight and reheat on the stovetop on low heat until bubbly hot.
- Canning – If you are planning on canning this recipe make sure to properly follow the USDA canning safety guidelines.
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how to make pomodoro sauce
- Preheat a heavy bottom pot over medium heat with a drizzle of olive oil. Sautee the onion with a pinch of salt until softened and it begins to get some color, about 15 minutes. Stir in the garlic and sautee just until fragrant, another 20 seconds or so.1 yellow onion, Olive oil as needed, 4 garlic cloves
- Meanwhile transfer the canned tomatoes to a spacious bowl. Use your hand and crush them well but keep some texture.2 x 28 oz can San Marzano Tomatoes
- Pour the tomatoes into the pot, add the bay leaves, basil and a pinch of salt and bring to a simmer. Partially cover with a lid and cook low and slow for one hour or until the sauce has reduced and thickened to your liking. (Note: You could really have this going on low simmer for hours, it just gets better as all the flavor marry together).2 x 28 oz can San Marzano Tomatoes, 2 bay leaves, 1 sprig fresh basil, S & P
- Stir every 15 minutes or so to make sure nothing sticks. Once the sauce has reduced to your liking, adjust seasonings to taste and remove from heat. Discard bay leaves and basil sprig.S & P
- If a smoother consistency is desired at this point, you can use an immersion blender to puree in the pot, or transfer to a blender and process to your liking. Finish with a light drizzle of extra virgin for richness and serve with your favorite pasta.
Using Fresh Tomatoes
- You can certainly make this sauce with a variety of fresh garden tomatoes. If using large tomatoes you’ll need to blanch them first. Carve a small X on the bottom of each tomato then plunge them in hot boiling water for a minute or two until you see the skins split. Transfer them into a bowl of ice water until cool, remove the skins then crush and follow the sauce recipe. If using Cherry Tomatoes they can be added straight into the sauce pot then blended into a smooth luscious sauce once they have released all their juices.
- Fresh Tomatoes - If using large fresh tomatoes it's important that you blanch them first. Carve a small X on the bottom of each tomato then plunge them in hot boiling water for a minute or two until you see the skins split. Transfer them into a bowl of ice water until cool, remove the skins then crush them and follow the sauce recipe.
- Canning - If you are planning on canning this recipe make sure to properly follow the USDA canning safety guidelines.