Tomato Sauce

Classic Tomato Sauce

  • Author: Flavia Scalzitti


  • 1 small carrot, peeled and washed
  • 1 celery rib, peeled and washed
  • ½ medium onion
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt, divided
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2  28-ounce cans crushed tomatoes
  • ¼ cup cold water


To make the soffritto:

  1. Cut the carrot into 1-inch pieces and place them in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Pulse until the carrot is chopped into pea-size pieces.
  2. Cut the celery and onion into 1-inch pieces and add them to the food processor. Pulse until all the ingredients are finely minced, scraping down the sides of the work bowl as necessary. You should still be able to see individual pieces of each ingredient. The mixture should not look puréed.
  3. Set aside.

To make the tomato sauce:

  1. Heat a heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Add in the olive oil and the soffritto, ½ teaspoon of salt, and the red pepper flakes. Stir to coat the soffritto in the oil.
  2. Reduce the heat to medium-low and sauté the vegetables, stirring often, until they have absorbed most of the olive oil and are tender. Adjust the heat as necessary to ensure the vegetables do not take on any color and/or burn.
  3. Add in the tomatoes, water and the remaining ½ teaspoon of salt and stir to combine. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cover the pot partially with the lid. Bring the tomato sauce to a gentle simmer and cook for 1 hour, stirring often.
  4. Serve with pasta or use the sauce as directed in the recipe you are making.


Chop the carrot first when prepping the vegetables for the soffritto. Because carrots are firmer in texture than celery and onion, chopping it first gives it a head start in breaking it down. Once it is evenly chopped, add in the onion and celery pieces and finish mincing the vegetables together.

Storage: Cool the sauce to room temperature before transferring to freezer-safe containers. Freeze for up to 3 months.