Basic tomato sauce

Basic tomato sauce three ways

This simple tomato sauce is great with pasta but can also be used as a base for other recipes.


  • 150ml/5fl oz extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled, roughly chopped
  • 2 x 400g/14oz tinned chopped tomatoes
  • large handful fresh basil
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 200g/7oz fresh penne

Preparation method

  1. For the basic tomato sauce, heat the oil in a frying pan over a medium heat, add the garlic and fry for 1-2 minutes, or until softened.

  2. Add the tinned tomatoes and basil and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat until the mixture is simmering and simmer for 12-15 minutes. Season, to taste, with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

  3. Remove two thirds of the tomato sauce from the pan and set aside to be used in another recipe (it can be frozen for up to six weeks).

  4. Cook the pasta in a pan of salted, boiling water until al dente, then drain well and stir it into the sauce. Warm through for a further minute, then serve.

James Martin recipes from James Martin: Home Comforts

Less than 30 mins preparation time

10 to 30 mins cooking time

Serves 2