Archive of BBC Food Recipes

Basic tomato sauce

Prep time less than 30 mins
Cook time less than 30 mins
Serves 8
Dietary Vegetarian
From James Martin: Home Comforts
This simple tomato sauce is great with pasta but can also be used as a base for other recipes.


  1. For the basic tomato sauce, heat the oil in a frying pan over a medium heat, add the garlic and fry for 1-2 minutes, or until softened.

  2. Add the tinned tomatoes and basil and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat until the mixture is simmering and simmer for 12-15 minutes. Season, to taste, with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

  3. Remove two thirds of the tomato sauce from the pan and set aside to be used in another recipe (it can be frozen for up to six weeks).

  4. Cook the pasta in a pan of salted, boiling water until al dente, then drain well and stir it into the sauce. Warm through for a further minute, then serve.


  • 150ml/5fl oz extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled, roughly chopped
  • 2 x 400g/14oz tins chopped tomatoes
  • large handful fresh basil
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 200g/7oz fresh penne

Shopping List

Basic tomato sauce

Fruit and vegetables

Tins, packets and jars

Cooking ingredients

This link may stop to work if/when the BBC removes the recipes
This site is under development - You can use it, but some things are not completed and may not be quite right!