Basic Tomato Sauce



6 cups



1 Spanish onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
3 fl. oz. virgin olive oil
4 tbsp. fresh thyme or
2 tbsp. dried thyme
1/2 md. carrot, finely shredded
2 cans (1-3/4 lb. each) crushed tomatoes, with their juices
Salt, to taste


Sauté the onion and garlic in the olive oil over medium heat until translucent but not brown (approximately 10 minutes). Add the thyme and carrot and cook 5 minutes more. Add the tomatoes. Bring to a boil, lower the heat to just bubbling, stirring occasionally for 30 minutes. Season with salt to taste. Serve immediately, or set aside for future use.

Author's Comments

The sauce may be refrigerated for up to one week or frozen for up to 6 months.

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13 Recipe Reviews


Giorgio reviewed Basic Tomato Sauce on November 9, 2000

Carrots? Revolting in a tomato sauce. They simply don't belong.

Greg R.

Greg R. reviewed Basic Tomato Sauce on November 12, 2000

On the contrary, carrots add a sweetness to the sauce that is otherwise lacking. Also, the fructose neutralizes a fair amount of the acetic acid from the tomatoes and leaves you with less heartburn. I ALWAYS use a carrot in my sauce.

Jack Chapman

Jack Chapman reviewed Basic Tomato Sauce on January 8, 2001

I, too, use a carrot in my homemade marinara sauce. It adds sweetness without stooping to sugar.


erika reviewed Basic Tomato Sauce on September 6, 2001

The basic ingeredents for the sauce are fine but the amount of time in the sauce is overwhelming. I followed your recipe and when it was ready to sit down and eat the taste of the thyme was all we were able to taste. It was not the best taste either.


Anthony reviewed Basic Tomato Sauce on September 8, 2001

no no no, carrots ARE revolting in a marinara gravey. There is no cuse for sweetness, sugar or otherwise in these sauces. And I must agree with the unbelievable amount of thyme in the sauce. Perhaps the chef would not feel this to be necessary if he had remembered to add some oregano to his ITALIAN cooking. Also, this sauce is lacking in peppers, both diced green peppers, one and a half tablespoons fresh ground black pepper, and a tiny bit of red pepper. Also, Marco Polo went to India and China for a reason. Do not forget to ad basil, cumin seed and other spices to your gravey.

DJP La Marca

DJP La Marca reviewed Basic Tomato Sauce on November 22, 2001

I Agree with the masses . . . carrots have no place in a tomato sauce! Sweetness . . . fry the paste . . . don't add sugar . . . tomato sauce is not a dessert it should not be sweet! Non Italians making Salsa Pomodora!


Anthony reviewed Basic Tomato Sauce on January 5, 2002

good call DJP


Anthony reviewed Basic Tomato Sauce on January 15, 2002

a simmered down sauce gets rid of the acidity carrots arn't good at all


gloria reviewed Basic Tomato Sauce on January 15, 2002

I am italian and this recipe was not anything like italian spaghetti sauce and we dont use oregano in sauce we use basil we also use beef broth


Pauly reviewed Basic Tomato Sauce on January 4, 2003

Anyone calling it sauce when they mean gravy has no credibility anyway. Only one person on this review list called it gravy. This whole category is a sham!


Linda reviewed Basic Tomato Sauce on March 14, 2004

I would not even try this recipe with carrots and thyme. We don't use oregano either. If you cook it long enough, there is no acid. Also I'm with Pauly, if you aren't calling it gravy, you don't know what you're doing anyway!!


mario reviewed Basic Tomato Sauce on October 8, 2005

Actually, Mario Batali uses carrots in his recipe, which is very similar to this one, and it's damn good.


deniseemiller reviewed Basic Tomato Sauce on June 21, 2015

Love this sauce, on a spoon, all by itself. Only variations -- used 1/2 canned tomatoes and 1/2 fresh, seeded tomatoes; left out carrot; reduced thyme by 1/2. Also followed one reviewer's suggestion and added paste during last two minutes of saute time with onions and garlic. I guess that is a lot of adjustments -- but the base recipe takes the credit.