Tomato pasta sauce

Can you believe Christmas is only 9 weeks away? I swear it was 12 weeks then I blinked and 3 weeks had disappeared. Every year I say I’ll be organised and not even have to think about presents cause they’ll all be planned out, wrapped and ready before the sleigh bells start to jingle in the distance. Last year I was pretty prepared. It was the first year I decided to try my hand at making gifts and it has become something I really enjoy. I don’t know about you (or the receivers of my gifts) but when someone gives me a gift that they made themselves I am truly touched. Not that I’m not grateful to be given any gift at all but to think that someone actually made me something with their own two hands is really special. This tomato pasta sauce recipe is a fantastic gift for anyone who likes to eat. It cam be used in so many ways. Last night we had it over plain pasta and it was delicious but I would also use it in things like chicken parmigiana or eggplant parmigiana. There’s not a lot of work involved, it just takes a few house to simmer away on the stove.


It looks like there are a lot of ingredients in this sauce but I actually worked out that it’s very economical to make. I used basil and oregano from the garden but everything else was store-bought.

Butter and oil

Start by heating the oil and butter in a large saucepan until the butter has melted.

Garlic, onion and capsicum

Add the capsicum, onion and garlic to the pan and cook until it softens. It takes about 7 minutes.


Add the tomatoes, tomato paste and passata and stir it through.

In with the rest

Add the rest of the ingredients and mix them in.


Bring the pot to the boil then reduce it to a simmer. Simmer it for 2-3 hours stirring occasionally until it thickens and reaches a rich red colour.

1 hour down

Here it is after one hour.

2 hours down

Here it is after two hours. It had thickened a lot and is nice and rich.

Jarring time

After 3 hours, transfer the sauce to sterilised jars, place the lids on top and stand the jars upside down to cool. Placing them upside down helps to seal them properly. I use recycled jars for my sauce and buy new lids. To sterilise them, place them so they are completely submerged in a pot of water. Bring it to the boil and boil the jars and lids for at least 10 minutes. Transfer them to a tea towel upside down to dry. Alternatively, the sauce can be frozen.

Tomato pasta sauce

Label the jars and top them with a pretty round of fabric.

Three wise jars of pasta sauce

I didn’t realise until I was editing the photos but the jars look a little like the three wise men! Enjoy!

I was featured on the Frost Bite blog today. Frost Bite is a book full of freezer-friendly recipes.

Classic tomato pasta sauce - gifts from my kitchen

Classic tomato pasta sauce - gifts from my kitchen

Yield: 6 (500ml jars)


  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ½ cup butter
  • ½ cup green capsicum (pepper), diced - about 1 large capsicum
  • ½ cup white onion, diced - about 2 onions
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 6 400g (14oz) cans crushed tomatoes (84oz total)
  • 400g (14oz) tomato passata
  • 100g (3.5oz) tomato paste
  • 1 ½ tsp fresh oregano, chopped
  • 1 tsp fresh marjoram, chopped (could use thyme)
  • 1 tsp fresh basil, chopped
  • ¼ cup red wine
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 bay leaf (I forgot this)


  1. Heat the oil and butter in a large deep saucepan.
  2. Add the onion, capsicum and garlic and cook, stirring until it all softens. This takes about 7 minutes.
  3. Add the tomato paste, passata and tin tomato and stir them through.
  4. Add the rest of the ingredients, stir them through then bring the mixture to a boil.
  5. Reduce to a simmer and simmer, stirring occasionally for 2-3 hours.
  6. Transfer the sauce to jars and seal them.
  7. In well-sealed jars, this sauce can keep for up to 1 year. Once opened it will only keep a few days. Alternatively, the sauce can be frozen.
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