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Sugo (Tomato Sauce from Fresh Tomatoes)

Sugo Put tomatoes to good use and make Italian sugo using fresh tomatoes! While buying store-bought sauce is simple, our homemade recipe is a labor of love and takes time to prepare- but as the saying goes, good things come to those who wait. 

WHAT IS SUGO?

Sugo means ‘sauce’ in Italian, and it refers to traditional Italian tomato sauce; we slow-cook fresh ingredients to create a rich, flavorful sauce.

WHAT YOU NEED TO MAKE THIS RECIPE

  • Tomatoes: Three varieties of tomatoes create the base for sugo; I use a combination of large tomatoes, vine-ripe tomatoes, and cherry tomatoes.
  • Garlic: A whole roasted garlic head flavors the sauce.
  • Olive Oil: Saute vegetables and garlic in olive oil. 
  • Onion and Green Bell Pepper: Sautéed onion and green bell pepper soften and release their sugar to sweeten the sauce.
  • Tomato Paste: Tomato paste thickens and adds color to the mixture. 
  • Seasoning: Season with dried oregano, red pepper flakes, salt, and black pepper.
  • Garnish: Finish the tomato sauce with fresh basil and parsley; fresh herbs are a game-changer.

HOW TO MAKE SUGO

Spread large tomatoes, vine tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, and garlic onto a rimmed baking sheet; generously drizzle with olive oil.

Line the tomatoes onto a rimmed baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil.

Set the oven to 350° F (176° C) and bake until the ingredients become tender for about 25-30 minutes. Set them aside.

Bake the vegetables.

While the tomatoes are baking, warm two tablespoons of olive oil in a Dutch oven; add onions and green bell peppers. Cook until the onions soften and become translucent.

Saute onions and bell pepper with olive oil and tomato paste.

Using tongs, squeeze the garlic head to release the cloves into the pan. Add tomato paste and saute for 2 minutes.

Peel off the skins of the cooked tomatoes.

Peel the skins off of the cooked tomato.

Crush them in the Dutch oven. Throw in a basil sprig and bring the mixture to a boil.

Crush the tomatoes before adding them to the tomato sauce.

Reduce the heat, cover with the lid slightly ajar, and gently simmer for 15-20 until the tomatoes break down. Adjust the heat if the mixture begins bubbling too much.

Remove the basil sprig and use an immersion blender to incorporate the sauce until smooth. Skip this step if you prefer chunky tomato sauce.

Season with oregano, red pepper flakes, salt, and black pepper; simmer for 30 minutes to develop the flavor.

Garnish with fresh parsley and basil to serve.

COOKING TIPS

  • Begin with quality ingredients; fresh tomatoes are the key to great-tasting tomato sauce.
  • If you’re cooking in a cast-iron Dutch oven (as pictured) be sure that it is seasoned properly. The acidity from the tomatoes break down the coating leading to a metallic taste no one wants.

SEARCHING FOR MORE LIKE THIS? 

If you love this recipe, try one of our other Italian-inspired meals!  

SERVING SUGGESTIONS

WHAT TO DO WITH THE LEFTOVERS 

  • FRIDGE – Store leftovers in an airtight container; it will keep in the fridge for 3-5 days.
  • FREEZER – Allow the sauce to cool, then add it to a freezer-safe bag or container. Sugo will last 3-4 months. When you’re ready to use it, defrost it in the fridge overnight.
  • REHEAT – Warm leftover sauce on the stovetop and prepare the other ingredients.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What’s the difference between marinara sauce and tomato sauce?

Marinara sauce is a quick sauce made with tomatoes, garlic, and very few spices. Tomato sauce tends to be more complex and takes longer to develop.

Should I make tomato sauce from fresh tomatoes or canned?

There are benefits to making tomato sauce with either one. Canned tomatoes use tomatoes picked at peak ripeness, so you can count on them to develop a delicious sauce every time. Canned tomatoes also reduce the cooking time considerably. When fresh tomatoes aren’t in season, use one 28-ounce can of San Marzano’s tomatoes. Fresh tomatoes cook down into a beautiful sauce, and if you have a surplus of tomatoes or find a great sale, why not make tomato sauce from fresh tomatoes?

YOU SHOULD ALSO TRY: 

The finished tomato sauce in a Dutch oven with a serving spoon.

Sugo

Tressa Jamil
Put tomatoes to good use and make our Italian sugo using fresh tomatoes.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 1 hr 30 mins
Total Time 1 hr 35 mins
Course Appetizer, Preparations, Sauce
Cuisine American, Italian
Servings 8 People

Ingredients
  

  • 2 large tomatoes,
  • 3 vine-ripe tomatoes
  • 1 package cherry tomatoes
  • 1 head garlic, cut off and discard the top third of a garlic head, leaving the head intact.
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium white onion, diced
  • ½ green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 sprig basil
  • 2 tablespoons oregano, dried
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper, coarse ground

For the Garnish:

  • 1 tablespoon basil, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon parsley, chopped

Instructions
 

  • Spread large tomatoes, vine tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, and garlic onto a rimmed baking sheet; generously drizzle with olive oil.
  • Set the oven to 350° F (176° C) and bake until the ingredients become tender for about 25-30 minutes. Set them aside to cool.
  • While the tomatoes are baking, warm two tablespoons of olive oil in a Dutch oven; add onions and green bell peppers. Cook until the onions soften and become translucent.
  • Using tongs, squeeze the garlic head to release the cloves into the pan. Add tomato paste and saute for 2 minutes.
  • Peel off the skins of the cooked tomatoes and crush them in the Dutch oven. Throw in a basil sprig and bring the mixture to a boil.
  • Reduce the heat, cover with the lid slightly ajar, and gently simmer for 15-20 until the tomatoes break down. Adjust the heat if the mixture begins bubbling too much.
  • Remove the basil sprig and use an immersion blender to incorporate the sauce until smooth. Skip this step if you prefer chunky tomato sauce.
  • Season with oregano, red pepper flakes, salt, and black pepper; simmer for 30 minutes to develop the flavor.
  • Garnish with fresh parsley and basil to serve.

Notes

Cooking Tips:
  • Begin with quality ingredients; fresh tomatoes are the key to great-tasting tomato sauce.
  • If you’re cooking in a cast-iron Dutch oven (as pictured) be sure that it is oiled properly. The acidity in the tomatoes break down the coating on the pan leading to a metallic taste no one wants.
 
Nutrition Disclosure:
  • The nutritional information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for professional advice.

Nutrition

Serving: 1 Serving
Keyword Tomato Sauce from Fresh Tomatoes
Did you make this recipe? Let me know how it turned out for you! Leave a comment below and follow @thejamilghar or tag #thejamilghar on Instagram!
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