how to make homemade pasta sauce from canned tomatoes | Family Cuisine

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Video How to make homemade pasta sauce from canned tomatoes

This has become my go-to sauce for homemade pizza, pasta, lasagna, and the like! Made with canned tomatoes, onion, garlic, and lots of fresh basil, it tastes incredibly fresh and comes together in just about 20 minutes. What’s more, you can easily adapt it to make a quick, creamy vodka sauce!

An overhead shot of homemade tomato sauce in a quart container.

Last month, Memorial Day weekend’s frigid temperatures and relentless rain upended our annual camping trip with my sister’s family, sending us straight past the exit for the campsite, en route to her home instead.

So in place of heating chili and cornbread over a campfire, we baked pizzas under a roof, in the shelter of a waterproof house, a woodburning oven keeping us cozy all the while. My brother-in-law had made the pizza dough that morning, balled it up, and chilled it until we arrived.

Upon learning the pizza plan, I set to work making sauce. Without enough time to make Ina’s vodka sauce, my favorite for pizza, I turned to a faster sauce I hadn’t made in years: Marcella Hazan’s other tomato sauce. Unlike her famous one, this one calls for sautéed onions, crushed garlic, white wine, fresh parsley, and a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes. After 20 minutes of simmering, it’s done.

Friends, I had forgotten how simple and fresh tasting this miraculous little sauce is! That night, I used basil instead of parsley, cut back the oil slightly, and simmered it for 5 minutes less — what can I say, we were hungry! The pizzas, topped with this basil-scented sauce, a hodgepodge of cheeses and toppings exhumed from the fridge, and my brother-in-law’s homegrown wine cap mushrooms (delicious!) and garden greens were fabulous.

The most exciting revelation about this sauce came upon returning home when I again found myself short on time and wanting Ina’s vodka sauce. In place of the wine, I used vodka, and I added 1/2 cup of heavy cream at the end. It turned out beautifully! Delicious, homemade vodka sauce in one-third the time? I’ll take it.

Hope you love it, too.

5 More Favorite Tomato Sauces

Tomato season couldn’t arrive a second too soon, and when it does, these are the fresh sauces I make on repeat:

  • Quick, Fresh Tomato-Basil Sauce (This one calls for bell peppers, too, and the combination is lovely.)
  • Quick Red Enchilada Sauce (Fast, fresh, and delicious.)
  • Roasted Broccoli Steaks with Roasted Tomato “Butter” (The tomato “butter” comes together in no time.)
  • Pasta with Quick Cherry Tomato Sauce (A late-summer staple.)
  • Marcella Hazan’s Tomato Sauce with Onion and Butter, Simplified (No tomato peeling here!)

Quick Homemade Tomato Sauce, Step by Step

First: gather your ingredients.

Ingredients to make quick, homemade tomato sauce from canned tomatoes.

You need about 2 cups of diced onions and about a tablespoon of minced garlic (from two cloves).

Minced onions and garlic on a cutting board.

Sauté the onions and garlic in olive oil until they are soft.

A pot of minced onions and garlic simmering stovetop.

Then add white wine and simmer 2-3 minutes or until the alcohol smell dissipates.

A pot of minced onions and garlic simmering stovetop with olive oil.

Add a can of peeled tomatoes.

A pot of homemade tomato sauce simmering stovetop.

Snip them with scissors right in the pot; then simmer 15 minutes.

A pot of tomato sauce simmering stovetop with scissors inside.

Add basil.

A pot of tomato sauce simmering stove top with fresh basil added.

Purée with an immersion blender or transfer to a food processor or blender and purée until smooth.

A pot of homemade tomato sauce simmering stovetop with an immersion blender inside.

Taste, and adjust seasoning with salt to taste.

A pot of homemade, quick tomato sauce.

This will give you about a quart of sauce. I love these deli containers for storing sauces and dressings. At this point, you can freeze the sauce for up to 3 months.

Homemade tomato sauce in a quart container.

Here’s the vodka sauce variation:

A pot of homemade, quick vodka sauce.
An overhead shot of homemade vodka sauce in a quart container.

Such a great feeling having homemade sauce on hand!

Two quarts of homemade tomato sauce on a counter top.

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