Easy Fresh Tomato Sauce Parma-Style

4.78 from 9 votes
3 hours 20 minutes
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Easy Fresh Tomato Sauce done Parma, Italy style is the easy and flavorful way to preserve your tomato bounty for a delicious taste of summer all year long!

Photo of Basic Fresh Tomato Sauce (Parma Style) in glass pint jars.

Friends!  We’re in tomato overload here and I couldn’t be happier about it!

Tomatoes are extremely difficult to grow in the South, but this year, we did something right and I owe it all to my hubby!

There are numerous things we enjoy doing with our fresh tomatoes in the summer including some of the recipes I recently shared with you.  However, one of the things I really enjoy making is some good, basic fresh tomato sauce that we can add to ANYTHING Italian-inspired we’re making this winter!

However, a question you may be asking yourself is….

What is Parma-Style Tomato Sauce?

Photo of three jars of Basic Fresh Tomato Sauce (Parma Style) in pint jars with tomatoes in a basket and sauce on wooden spoon.

Well, Parma-Style Basic Fresh Tomato Sauce is how I have ALWAYS made my sauce and it doesn’t involve peeling or seeding the tomatoes which is always a project before the project!

As you know, I’m sort of a cookbook fanatic and one of the things I like to get while traveling is a cookbook from where I’ve been.  A number of years ago, I had the opportunity to travel to Parma, Italy with a bunch of my personal chef friends to attend a culinary school there.  We had WAY too much fun that will never be forgotten.

I purchased a copy of Parma, A Capital of Italian Gastronomy by Giuliano Bugialli (Affiliate Link) there, and had all the chefs at the school sign it.

With our tomato bounty, I was looking for a new way to make tomato sauce.  I grabbed this cookbook, saw one of his sauce recipes and lo and behold, it was my OLD way of making tomato sauce!  Very cool to have Giuliano Bugialli’s blessings!

What are the best tomatoes for tomato sauce?

  • It’s best to use Roma or plum tomatoes (otherwise known as “paste” tomatoes).  You can use any tomatoes or a combination, but some varieties of tomatoes contain A LOT of water and you may be cooking it down for a while to get it thickened.
  • The tomatoes should be ripe but not OVERLY ripe especially if using a combination of tomatoes.
Close-up photo of Basic Fresh Tomato Sauce (Parma Style) in glass pint jars.

Let’s make it!

How to make Basic Fresh Tomato Sauce Parma-Style:

  • Gather up and chop all the ingredients:
    • Fresh tomatoes
    • Onion
    • Celery
    • Carrots
    • Garlic
    • Fresh parsley
    • Olive oil
    • Fresh basil
    • There’s some salt and pepper mixed in there too!
Photo of ingredients for Basic Fresh Tomato Sauce (Parma Style).
  • Combine it ALL in a Dutch oven or other heavy-bottomed pot except for the fresh basil.  NO peeling or seeding of the tomatoes needed at this point!
Photo of ingredients for tomato sauce in white Dutch oven before being cooked.
  • Cover and let all these ingredients break down and simmer until you have something that resembles a thick tomato stew.
  • Let that cool down a bit…
Photo of cooked tomato sauce in white Dutch oven.
  • Place this rough combination in batches into a food mill.
  • Turn the handle, forcing this “stew” through the holes of the food mill leaving the seeds and skins behind but you’re pushing all that wonderful flavor through.
Photo of sauce ingredients being processed in food mill.
  • What you end up with is a lovely, delicious basic tomato sauce that has been flavored with the loveliness of carrot, celery, onion, garlic and fresh herbs.
Photo of smooth sauce in white Dutch oven after being processed in a food mill.
  • Cook it down a little bit more with some fresh basil….
Photo of cooked tomato sauce in white Dutch oven.
  • And voila!
Photo of three jars of Basic Fresh Tomato Sauce (Parma Style) in glass pint jars with tomatoes in wire basket and some sauce on a spoon.
  • A lovely basic fresh tomato sauce that you can use in a multitude of ways!

At this point, you can:

  • Use it immediately!
  • Freeze it. Ladle cooled sauce into freezer containers, cover and place in the freezer.
  • Can it. Add 2 tablespoons of lemon juice per quart jar or 1 tablespoon per pint jar. Ladle into sterilized glass Mason jars, leaving a half-inch head space. Wipe the rims clean with a clean, damp paper towel. Place lids and rims on until just tight. Process jars in a water bath canner for 20 minutes. Carefully remove the jars from the water bath and let them sit undisturbed for 24 hours, ensuring the lids seal.

That’s it!  A lovely Basic Fresh Tomato Sauce Recipe, Parma-Style!

Photo of Basic Fresh Tomato Sauce (Parma Style) in pint jars with tomatoes and sauce on wooden spoon with fresh basil leaves.

Use this fresh tomato sauce in:

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Basic Fresh Tomato Sauce (Parma Style) - Close-up hero shot of sauce in glass pint jar

Basic Fresh Tomato Sauce Parma-Style

4.78 from 9 votes

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By: Carol | From A Chef’s Kitchen
Basic Fresh Tomato Sauce Parma-Style is the easy and flavorful way to preserve your tomato bounty for a delicious taste of summer all year long!
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours
Total Time 3 hours 20 minutes
Course Sauces Dressings and Marinades
Cuisine Italian
Servings 3 pints
Calories 345 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 5 pounds Roma tomatoes - ripe but not overripe (or a combination)
  • 2 medium carrots - coarsely chopped
  • 1 large onion - coarsely chopped
  • 1 large stalk celery
  • 6 cloves garlic - crushed
  • 10 sprigs Italian parsley - leaves only
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt - plus more to taste
  • 1 handful large basil leaves - torn into pieces
  • lemon juice - IF CANNING

Instructions
 

  • Cut tomatoes into large chunks and place in a Dutch oven or other heavy, thick-bottomed pot.
  • Add the carrots, onion, celery, garlic, parsley, olive oil and salt.
  • Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low, cover and let simmer for 30 minutes, stirring once or twice.
  • Uncover and continue to simmer for 1-2 more hours or until the combination resembles a thick stew. Stir every 15-20 minutes.
  • Remove from the heat and let cool 1 hour.
  • Working with a ladleful at a time, pass the rough tomato sauce through a food mill fitted with the disk with medium holes into a bowl. If too many seeds go through, switch to the disk with the smallest holes. Discard (compost) the skins, seeds and any remaining vegetables.
  • Return the sauce to the Dutch oven or pot. Add the basil and simmer another 30 minutes or so or until the sauce has thickened to desired consistency.

Notes

The sauce can be cooled, refrigerated and used within 5 days.
To Freeze:
  • Ladle cooled sauce into freezer containers, cover and place in the freezer.
To Can:
  • Add 2 tablespoons of lemon juice per quart jar or 1 tablespoon per pint jar.
  • Ladle into sterilized glass Mason jars, leaving a half-inch head space.
  • Wipe the rims clean with a clean, damp paper towel. Place lids and rims on until just tight. Process jars in a water bath canner for 20 minutes.
  • Carefully remove the jars from the water bath and let them sit undisturbed for 24 hours.

Nutrition

Serving: 1jar | Calories: 345kcal | Carbohydrates: 41g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 13g | Sodium: 863mg | Potassium: 2095mg | Fiber: 12g | Sugar: 24g | Vitamin A: 13504IU | Vitamin C: 117mg | Calcium: 126mg | Iron: 3mg

These are estimated values generated from a nutritional database using unbranded products. Please do your own research with the products you’re using if you have a serious health issue or are following a specific diet.

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15 Comments

    1. Hi, Rebecca, Thanks so much for your question. Yes, you can do that, but doing the sauce on the stovetop allows for evaporation and concentrating the flavors, which pressure cookers don’t do. Thanks again and let me know how it went.

    1. Hi, Lacy, Thanks so much for your question. You could do it either way as long as: 2 tablespoons of bottled lemon juice per quart of tomatoes. For pints, use one tablespoon. I don’t often know who much tomato sauce I’ll end up with until I fill the jars so you may want to add it after placing it in jars then give it a quick stir before placing the lids on. Thanks so much and hope you enjoy!

  1. 5 stars
    Just made this recipe as my first sauce-making experience ever. I’ve gardened for years but always tried to freeze tomatoes and never enjoyed the taste when thawing. This tastes delicious and my house smells amazing!

    Thank you so much for sharing. You made sauce seem less daunting to take on, and I loved using carrots and celery to add to the taste.

    1. Hi, Vanessa, Thanks so much for your question. You can certainly do that if you want to increase the acidity to be on the safe side. Depending upon how tangy you like it, you may need to add a bit of sugar when you use the sauce. Thanks again and hope you enjoy!

    1. Hi, Rosie, Thanks so much for your question! In that case, I would peel the tomatoes first then cook the sauce as directed. At the point where you would put it through the food mill, you can use a sieve or fine colander and a wooden spoon to push it through. It’s going to be more work but the result should be the same. Thanks again and hope it works for you!

  2. Thank you for posting a tomato sauce recipe NOT USING CANNED TOMATO PRODUCT 👏👏👏👏👏. The extra sodium isn’t needed. Gonna try this recipe!

    1. Thanks so much, June and hope you enjoy! Yes, it’s crazy how much sodium is in canned tomatoes unless you buy the low or no-salt-added tomatoes. Thanks again!

  3. 5 stars
    The aroma of all the ingredients was amazing. Very tasty, the best tomato sauce ever. Very well worth the effort. I made 3 batches.