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!
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?
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.
Let's make it!
How to make Basic Fresh Tomato Sauce Parma-Style:
- Gather up and chop all the ingredients:
- Fresh tomatoes
- Fresh parsley
- Olive oil
- Fresh basil
- There's some salt and pepper mixed in there too!
- 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!
- 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...
- 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.
- 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.
- Cook it down a little bit more with some fresh basil....
- And voila!
- A lovely basic fresh tomato sauce that you can use in a multitude of ways!
At this point, you can:
- Use it immediately!
- Can it and seal in jars using a hot water bath.
- Freeze it in small containers.
That's it! A lovely Basic Fresh Tomato Sauce Recipe, Parma-Style!
Use this fresh tomato sauce in:
- Middle Eastern Spiced Meatballs in Tomato Sauce
- Slow-Cooker Spicy Sausage and Pepper Ragu
- Italian Beef and Farro Stuffed Peppers
- Spinach Feta Stuffed Turkey Meatloaf
- Pasta or Gnocchi with Puttanesca Sauce
Basic Fresh Tomato Sauce Parma-Style
- 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
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt - plus more to taste
- 1 handful large basil leaves - torn into pieces
- 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.
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.
Thanks so much and so happy you enjoyed!!!
April V. says
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.
Hi, April, Thanks so very much and that makes me so happy! So glad you enjoyed this and it turned out so well for you. Thanks again!
Vanessa Williams says
When water-bath canning this, should 1 tablespoon of lemon juice be added to each jar?
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!
What if you do not have a food mill?
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!
June Kester says
Thank you for posting a tomato sauce recipe NOT USING CANNED TOMATO PRODUCT 👏👏👏👏👏. The extra sodium isn't needed. Gonna try this recipe!
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!
Arleen Gross says
The aroma of all the ingredients was amazing. Very tasty, the best tomato sauce ever. Very well worth the effort. I made 3 batches.