San Marzano Tomato Sauce

from ButterYum

makes 12 cups


  • 2-3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 jumbo onion, diced
  • 5-6 garlic cloves (pressed, crushed, or minced)
  • 1/2 tsp salt (or half as much table salt)
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 6 oz can tomato paste
  • 6 lb can San Marzano whole tomatoes (pureed until smooth in food processor, blender, or food mill)
  • 3 tbsp dried parsley
  • 4 dried bay leaves
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp kosher salt (or half as much table salt)
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (kids might find this amount a tad spicy - adults usually love it - I double it)
  • *Fresh basil, chopped or torn (as much as you like, but don't add until serving)


  1. Over med-high heat, saute onions, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/2 tsp pepper in olive oil until caramelized (I save the leftover oil from jarred sun-dried tomatoes to use for things like this).
  2. Add garlic and stir constantly  for 30-60 seconds, or until very fragrant.
  3. Add tomato paste and caramelize for 3-5 minutes; stirring constantly.
  4. Add pureed tomatoes, bay leaves, dried oregano, dried basil (don't add the fresh basil yet), red pepper flakes, 1 tsp kosher salt, and 1/2 tsp pepper; stir to combine.
  5. Simmer on low for about an hour.
  6. Remove bay leaves.
  7. Add fresh basil just before serving.
  • You can simmer this sauce longer if you like, but you don't need to.
  • For meat sauce, I like to add Italian sausages or ground beef that has been browned with lots of onion and garlic.
  • If you happen to have a rind of Parmesan cheese leftover, throw that in too (it won't really melt into the sauce, but it will add a log of great flavor).
  • For a smaller batch, use a 28oz can of tomatoes and scale the recipe down to 1/3.