Authentic Italian Tomato Sauce

Tomato sauce, also known as Sugo in Italy, is one of the cornerstones of Italian cuisine. Dating back centuries, the classic sauce is prepared with little more than tomatoes, garlic and basil – providing a rich, multi-layered flavor that can elevate any dish. This simple yet delicious combination has been enjoyed during meals around the world – but you likely haven’t tasted true Italian Sugo unless you’ve had it prepared the old-fashioned way.

What is Authentic Italian Sugo?

Authentic Italian Sugo is a type of tomato sauce that originated in the southern part of Italy. It is made with fresh tomatoes, olive oil, garlic, fresh herbs and sometimes onions. It is a simple yet flavorful sauce, and is served in many Italian restaurants and homes throughout the country.

Subtle Differences that Set Sugo Apart

Authentic Italian Sugo is distinct from other tomato sauces due to its use of fresh, quality ingredients, its slow cooking process, and the specific herbs and spices added. The key to Sugo’s flavor is the quality of the ingredients and the cooking process, which helps to bring out building layers of flavor without overpowering the dish.

Classic Ingredients in Authentic Italian Sugo

At its most basic, authentic Italian Sugo requires only three ingredients: tomatoes, garlic and basil. These ingredients provide the foundation upon which more complex forms of the sauce are built. Common ingredients used in authentic Italian Sugo recipes include:

• Tomatoes: Tomatoes are the base of the sauce. The variety used will depend on the region where the dish is being prepared; San Marzano tomatoes are often favored in Southern Italy.

• Garlic: Garlic is added to provide a savory flavour.

• Basil: Basil adds a refreshing herbaceous note that balances out the tomatoes and garlic.

• Olive Oil: Olive oil is added for richness and a hint of sweetness.

• Onion/Carrots: Onion and carrots are sometimes added for sweetness and aroma.

• Red Pepper Flakes: Red pepper flakes provide a slight kick to the sauce.

• Oregano: Oregano is often added for extra flavor.

• Parmesan/Romano Cheese: Romano or Parmesan cheese is also sometimes added for richness and depth of flavor.

Step-by-Step Guide to Making Authentic Italian Sugo

Making authentic Italian Sugo is simple – anyone can do it! Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to prepare Sugo:

  1. Prepare and chop the ingredients: Begin by gathering all the necessary ingredients. Chop the tomatoes, onions and carrots into small pieces, mince the garlic and basil, and shred or grate the Parmesan and/or Romano cheese.

  2. Render the onion and carrot: Heat the olive oil in a pan or pot and add the onions and carrots. Cook for about 5 minutes, or until the onions just begin to take on color.

  3. Add the garlic and herbs: Add the minced garlic and basil to the pan, and cook for another minute.

  4. Add the tomatoes: Now add the chopped tomatoes. Stir to combine and bring everything to a boil. Reduce the heat and let the sauce simmer, stirring occasionally.

  5. Season to taste: Before taking the sauce off the heat, season with a pinch of salt, red pepper flakes (if desired), and oregano. Once the desired flavor is achieved, take the sauce off the heat.

  6. Add the cheese: For added richness and depth of flavor, add in the Parmesan and/or Romano cheese.

  7. Enjoy!: Serve the sauce over cooked pasta or gnocchi, or with freshly made focaccia or other Italian bread.

Tips for the Best Results

Here are a few tips to ensure that your Sugo is the best it can be:

• Use the freshest ingredients available. Fresh tomatoes, herbs and olive oil are essential for great Sugo.

• Take your time. Cooking the sauce over low heat creates a deeper, more complex flavor.

• Adjust the seasoning to taste. Taste the sauce as you cook it, and adjust the seasoning as necessary.

A cornerstone of Italian cuisine, Authentic Italian Sugo is a simple yet flavor-packed classic. This slow-cooked tomato sauce is made with only a handful of ingredients: tomatoes, garlic, basil and olive oil. Rounded out with the addition of aromatic herbs and optional Parmesan or Romano cheese, the flavorful sauce elevates any home-cooked dish. Now that you’ve got the recipe, give this simple and delicious Italian classic a try – you won’t regret it!