Garden Fresh Tomato Sauce

This fresh tomato sauce is the ultimate way to eat pasta in the summer. This recipe gives you a dreamy, luscious, insanely easy tomato sauce made with garden fresh tomatoes. All it takes is three main ingredients, plus a few others for garnishing and you’ve got seriously the perfect summer tomato pasta dish.

fresh tomatoes for fresh tomato sauce

Which Tomatoes to Use

My favorite kinds of tomatoes are roma tomatoes or vine-ripened tomatoes, but there are a bunch of different varieties and most of them will do the trick. The only kind I would steer clear of for this recipe is small varieties like cherry tomatoes or grape tomatoes, since it would yield too much skin and seeds in the sauce. For those, try out my burst tomato pasta sauce. Try going to your local farmers market and picking up some fresh tomatoes from there! Just remember the better your tomatoes, the better your sauce.

Making Homemade Tomato Sauce

Preparing the Fresh Tomatoes

Once you’ve secured the best tomats you can get your hands on, we’ll start this sauce off by prepping them. The main thing here is getting the skins off since they mess with the texture of the sauce. It’s easy but a little involved. Don’t fear though, we’ll walk through it together. First get a pot of water boiling; you want enough water to fully cover 4 tomatoes at a time. Take the tomato and gently slice a little “x” in the bottom to make a seam. Also prepare an ice bath by pouring water into a medium size bowl and adding some ice cubes. 

Once the water is boiling, drop in the tomatoes, cooking them for about a minute. Remove the tomatoes and immediately transfer them to the ice bath. Let them chill for a minute or two and then gently peel the skin off from the bottom where we made the “x”. The skin should peel off easily, but feel free to use a paring knife to help the skin off along any tough parts. 

Finally, roughly chop the tomatoes into quarters or chunks just to break them up a little and that’s about 75% of the work in this recipe!

tomatoes, butter and onion in a pot for fresh tomato sauce

Making this Fresh Tomato Sauce

Okay now for the easy part: actually making the sauce. All you have to do here is add the prepared tomatoes, butter, an onion and a pinch of salt. These are your main ingredients; they’re all you really need to make a killer fresh tomato sauce. Add everything to a medium large pot and make sure to stir fairly frequently, especially in the beginning. Once the tomatoes start to soften within the first 5 minutes of cooking, start to smash them with the back of your spoon or a potato masher if you have one. Just start breaking them up so they can release juices and start to get ~saucy~. Once the sauce starts to become more sauce-like, you can stir every 10-15 minutes or so. 

Cook the ingredients together over medium low heat for about 30-45 minutes. You’ll know it’s done when a) it tastes good and b) the butter starts to float to the top of the sauce. When the sauce is ready, you can remove the onion and discard or spread on toast for a jammy onion situation).

fresh tomato sauce with fresh bucatini in a white bowl

Serving Suggestions

Here I paired the tomato sauce with fresh pasta from local pasta makers Vera Pasta. If choosing to go the pasta route, cook dried pasta about 15 minutes before the sauce is done and fresh pasta about 5 minutes before the sauce is done. Make sure to finish the pasta in the sauce to really meld the flavors together. 

You can use this sauce for any pasta, spoon it atop some toasted crusty bread or try it on in an eggs in purgatory/shakshuka type dish. Honestly, you can use this really anywhere you use tomato sauce!

You can also store this sauce in the fridge by itself for up to 5 days or in the freezer for a few months!

Thanks so much for stopping by! If you make this recipe or have any questions, let me know! Leave a comment below or tag me @annietortellini on Instagram!

Fresh Tomato Sauce

Three ingredients is all it takes to make this delicious garden fresh tomato sauce that's perfect for summer!
Servings: 4
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 40 mins
Total Time 50 mins


  • 8 roma tomatoes skinned and chopped
  • 8 Tbs unsalted butter 1 stick
  • 1 onion ends trimmed and chopped in half for two clean pieces
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 lb pasta optional for serving
  • fresh basil optional for serving
  • fresh shaved parm cheese optional for serving


  • Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Also set up an ice bath by filling a medium large bowl with water and ice.
    To prepare the tomatoes, cut an "x" at the bottom of each tomato (opposite the stem). Into the boiling water, drop as many tomatoes that can fit fully submerged and boil for 1 minute. Transfer tomatoes to ice bath and let cool for a few minutes.
    Peel the skin off the tomatoes from the "x" mark. It should be very easy to peel it off, but you can use a paring knife to help and stuck spots. Chop the peeled tomatoes into rough quarters.
  • In a medium large pot, add the prepared tomatoes, butter, onion and salt. Cook over medium low heat for 30-40 minutes until it tastes good and saucy and the butter kinda floats to the top.
  • In the first 10 minutes of cooking, stir frequently and use the back of a spoon to crush the tomatoes as they start to soften.
  • When the sauce is ready, pair it with pasta or toast and top with fresh parm and basil.
Course Appetizer, Main Course, Sauce
Cuisine Italian
Keyword 1 Hour, Pasta, Summer

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