The combination of olive oil, garlic, tomato and basil is a classic and for good reason. This tomato and basil sauce is rich, sweet and a staple item in my cooking.
Tomato & Basil Sauce
This sauce was one of the first things I learned how to cook and as simple as it is, it’s taken my family years of recipe testing to perfect it. It’s important to use high quality tinned tomatoes as they will be plump, juicy and sweet and require little seasoning. My freezer is never without a frozen jar of this sauce as it’s so versatile and can be turned into a delicious and filling meal. These recipes include:
To garlic or not to garlic?
Unlike a traditional tomato sauce, this tomato and basil sauce uses lots of garlic. I wouldn’t be a garlic girl if it didn’t! With that being said, you can also make the sauce a more traditional way by flavouring the olive oil with whole garlic cloves and then discarding them. There is a much more mild flavour of garlic throughout the sauce. It’s those subtle notes of garlic that are complemented by sweetness from the tomatoes and basil. The choice is yours for how you decide to make this sauce!
How to make the best tomato & basil sauce
High quality – It’s important to use high quality olive oil and tinned tomatoes as they will be plump, juicy and sweet and require little seasoning.
Tinned vs fresh – I prefer to use tinned tomatoes for this sauce however, you can easily use fresh as well. Follow my recipe for fresh tomato and basil here.
In season – I love to make a big batch of this sauce when basil as in season as it’s at its plumpest and sweetest.
Large quantities – Your future self will be thanking your past self when they go to the freezer and find batches of this sauce frozen! It’s the perfect staple item to have in your freezer. I like to divide the sauce into 200g portion and freeze them in snaplock bags.
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Tomato & Basil Sauce
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 4 garlic cloves crushed or whole
- 2 400g tinned tomatoes whole tomatoes
- 1 bunch fresh basil
- 1/2 cups water
- In a large deep fry pan, bring the olive oil to heat. Turn the heat to low, add the crushed garlic and cook for 2 - 3 minutes or until the garlic is fragrant and soft. Stir the garlic quite often to ensure it does not burn. If you are after a more mild garlic flavour, add the garlic as whole cloves and cook for 2 - 3 minutes or until they begin to slightly brown. With a slotted spoon, remove the garlic from the olive oil and set to the side.
- If using whole tinned tomatoes, squeeze the tomatoes with your hand to slightly puree them.
- In the same pan, combine the tinned tomatoes, water, a pinch of salt and pepper and ¾ of the basil. Bring to the boil then turn the heat all the way down and leave to simmer for 30 - 40 minutes. Depending on the tinned tomatoes you are using, your sauce may need a little sweetness. Keep tasting your sauce as it cooks and add more salt or pepper if needed.
- Divide into portions of your choice and serve with pasta or one of my suggested recipes.
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