Tomato and basil sauce

Rich and flavoursome, this tomato sauce is our go-to for many dishes: pizza sauce, ratatouille, to accompany gnocchi and, of course, it can be simply enjoyed with pasta. Try to get hold of San Marzano tomatoes if you can, they have a lovely soft texture and mild acidity. Otherwise use good quality tinned plum tomatoes.


  • x1 800g can San Marzano tomatoes (or x2 400g cans good quality plum tomatoes)
  • 2 large cloves of garlic
  • 1 small bunch of fresh basil
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • Dried ancho chilli flakes (optional)


  1. Place a colander over a bowl. Drain the San Marzano / plum tomatoes in the colander for 10 – 15 minutes. Reserve the juice in the bowl for another use (it will keep for a few days in the fridge, otherwise you can freeze it).
  2. Meanwhile, peel and finely slice the garlic, then pick the basil leaves and finely chop the stalks.
  3. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a pan on a medium-low heat, add the garlic and basil stalks (and ancho chilli flakes if using), then cook gently for a couple of minutes, or until the garlic is lightly golden, then add the basil leaves, the tomatoes, a teaspoon of sugar and a pinch of salt and pepper.
  4. Leave the sauce to simmer for around 20 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent it sticking and breaking up the tomatoes up with the back of a wooden spoon. At the end of the time the sauce should have reduced and be nice and thick. Taste, and season to perfection.
Mise en place
Tomato and basil sauce in the making

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