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Tomato and garlic pasta sauce

  • without browning 15 minutes, with browning 20 minutes
  • low 6-7 hours, high 3-4 hours
  • Makes 13 cups
Tomato and garlic pasta sauce

Slow cooking all the ingredients for a classic tomato pasta sauce produces a richly flavoured sauce that can form the basis of many dishes.


  • ½ cup olive oil, virgin olive oil is nice here
  • 2 large onions, peeled and finely diced
  • 8-10 cloves garlic, crushed, peeled and sliced
  • 3 kilograms large juicy ripe tomatoes, chopped
  • ½ cup tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon dried basil


  1. Turn the slow cooker onto low to pre-warm while gathering and preparing the ingredients.
  2. If wishing to brown the ingredients: Heat the oil in a frying-pan. Add the onions and cook over a moderate heat for about 8-10 minutes until the onions are softened and become lightly brown. Stir regularly. Add the garlic and cook a further minute or until the mixture is fragrant.
  3. Into the pre-warmed slow cooker put the oil, onions, garlic, tomatoes, tomato paste, oregano and basil. Stir to mix as well as possible and cover with the lid.
  4. Cook on low for 6-7 hours or on high for 3-4 hours.
  5. Sieve the mixture through a mouli or push through a sieve to remove seeds and skins. Alternatively, puree in a food processor or blender. Season with salt and pepper and serve as wished. If wishing to keep, freeze the mixture in 1 or 2 cupful lots, label with a name and date and use within 6-12 months.

Cooks Tips

Variations: Pancetta or bacon: Cook 4-6 finely diced slices of bacon or thick-cut pancetta in a frying pan until crispy. Stir into the pureed sauce with any oil from the pan for extra flavour if wished. Rocket: Once the sauce has been sieved, return to the slow cooker, add 2-3 cups of well-packed rocket leaves, cover and cook a further 20-30 minutes on high or unti lthe sauce is hot enough again to serve. Anchovy: Add 2-3 tablespoons finely minced anchovies to the sieved sauce. Roasted garlic: Add the pulp of 2 roasted garlic bulbs to the cooked tomatoes before processing them through the mouli. Fresh herb: Add 1 cup of mixed finely chopped fresh herbs such as parsley, chives, thyme, oregano or marjoram.

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