Homemade tomato sauce is the essential ingredient in every Italian household – it’s like liquid gold. This year I was invited to Sicilian tomato master Filippo’s, to make his yearly batch using his very own home-grown Roma tomatoes.

This practice is about more than cooking, it is an annual tradition where the whole family gathers together to create one of the simplest but most important ingredients that will feature heavily on the plate all year round. The custom is dying out in a lot of ways with the older generation but I’m here to teach you how it’s done so you can keep it going!

Gather your family and make a batch large or small – I promise once you taste the difference you’ll be making your own batch every year too!

Watch How to Make HOMEMADE TOMATO SAUCE video recipe:

How To Make HOMEMADE TOMATO SAUCE Like an Italian Nonno

how to make homemade tomato sauce like an italian

Ripened Roma tomatoes
Extra virgin olive oil
Fine salt
Fresh basil leaves

fresh tomatoes

Sharp knife
Large containers with slits
Voile fabric sheet/s
Deep buckets
Large pot to boil tomatoes
Large drum/XL pot to boil bottles
Glass bottles (sterilised)
Lids to seal bottles
Hand funnel
Tomato milling machine/Large hand mill

how to make homemade tomato sauce


  1. Homemade tomato sauce must be made with the perfect batch of tomatoes. Homegrown, organic or market-bought are best.
  2. Spread the tomatoes out on a large surface and leave to further ripen for a few days. This will make them the perfect texture for your sauce and once ready, wash them well.
  3. Slice the top of the tomato then make 4 slits in the tomato cutting them into quarters.
  4. Cut the green part out from inside the tomato to remove the bitter part along with any bruised or black part of each tomato.
  5. Put the quarters into large buckets and leave to the side.
  6. Once all the tomatoes have been cut, pour up to 1L water in an XL pot and add them to it, filling it to the top.
  7. Leave to boil on a medium heat and a few minutes after it has started bubbling, remove it from the stove.
  8. While you are waiting, prepare 1-2 large containers with slits in them (or large strainers) by placing a sheet of voile fabric over the top of them, letting it hang out of the sides.
  9. When the tomatoes for the homemade tomato sauce have boiled, pour this into the container and let all the water pour out.

FILIPPO’S TIP: Letting the water strain out of the tomatoes when they are a watery variety, means only the juiciest part remains for the homemade tomato sauce!

  1. Using a ladle, pour the tomatoes into the tomato miller machine/hand mill and mince! This process separates the skin and the flesh.
  2. Be sure to put the tomato skin that comes out through the miller up to two times more as it is likely still full of juices!
  3. Put all of the homemade tomato sauce in a large tub and mix it together gently, this will ensure all of it is the same consistency.
  4. Add a handful of salt if desired and mix through.
  5. Once your glass bottles have been sterilised, drop a few fresh basil leaves into each one before pouring the tomato sauce in each one, filling it only ¾ of the way, then pour a layer of extra virgin olive oil on top to seal each one.

tomato sauce day

FILIPPO’S TIP: Pour the tomato sauce into each bottle over the top of the large tub of sauce OR using a bowl underneath so that you catch any excess that falls out. Don’t waste a drop!

  1. Seal each bottle with your chosen bottle tops and make sure they are closed nice and tight!
  2. For this, you need a large drum – place a big sheet/blanket or layers of newspaper at the bottom then place each bottle inside, standing up. If tall enough to create an extra layer, fill any gaps with more cloth or newspaper before adding another large one in between the two and then fill it again with bottles of the homemade tomato sauce standing up.
  3. Close the drum with a large lid and light a fire at the bottom of it, leaving it to boil for up to 3 hours.
  4. Leave the bottles in the drum once they are cooling being sure not to remove them until the next day.
  5. Use the passata right away for your favourite meal – The bottles will stay fresh for more than a year!

homemade tomato sauce

However you like! The first time you have it I would definitely recommend using it on its own for a plate of pasta so you can really savour the flavours.

italian tomato sauce

E ora si mangia, Vincenzo’s Plate…Enjoy!


You should serve this amazing tomato sauce with these pastas:

eggplant pasta

lasagna recipe

tomato pasta sauce

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