Ridiculously Good Red Sauce

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Have I mentioned that I’m Italian? And I don’t mean in the “of Italian descent” way– I mean in the way that Italian is actually my second language and I split my time growing up between Italy and America.  I even studied at an Italian University for part of college!  We Italians take pasta very seriously (obvi!), and a ridiculous, plate-licking Red Sauce is something that has GOT to be in the recipe arsenal.  This one is based on a family recipe, and whenever I cook it for company I end up jotting it down for people to bring home.  It’s also my Go-To to bring over to families who have just welcomed a new baby, by the way.  Now you can find it here!  Everybody wins!

I love cooking this Red Sauce with Rigatoni, and serving it with a nice green leafy salad and crusty bread to soak up the extra sauce.  This sauce is also amazing on Chicken, or omit the cheese and thin it with white wine to toss with freshly steamed mussels and a hunk of baguette!  In other words, this recipe is extremely versatile.  Double it and freeze a bunch for when you’re feeling extra lazy!

FUN FACT:  I made a bunch of this sauce along with some meatballs when I was nine months pregnant with Marlowe and stuck it all in the freezer for my Midwives, Doula, and Husband to eat while I labored! Everyone loved it when the time came, and it was nice to be nourishing them with something I made while they supported me in Marlowe’s birth.  Plus, it ended up being necessary to feed everyone– my labor was 36 hours long!




Ingredients (serves 4)

  • 1 box Pasta (I prefer Rigatoni with this), cooked according to package directions
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 28 oz. can of Crushed Tomatoes (I prefer San Marzano)
  • 1 28 oz. can Whole Peeled Tomatoes (I prefer San Marzano)
  • 2 large Carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2 large stalks of Celery, diced
  • 1 medium Onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, diced
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving (I use Pecorino Romano because it’s sheep’s milk and I have a Cow dairy allergy)
  • 1/2 Teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 Tablespoon Kosher Salt, plus more to taste
  • 1 Teaspoon fresh ground Pepper
  • 4-6 fresh Basil leaves, torn (Optional)
  • 1/2 cup reserved pasta cooking liquid from the pot






Heat your Olive Oil in a large saucepan with a rim over medium heat.  Place the Garlic, Carrot, Onion, and Celery in the saucepan.  Add the salt and Pepper, and sautée until the onion is turning translucent– approximately 8 minutes.  Add the wine to the pan, and turn the heat up to high.  Steam Sautée the veggies until the wine is almost evaporated– approximately 5 minutes.  Now, add the cans of tomatoes to the pan (with their liquids) and turn down the head to medium-low.  If you’d like to add the basil leaves, add them now.  Cook the sauce uncovered for forty-five minutes, stirring often.  Cover with a tight fitting lid, turn the heat down to low, and cook for an additional hour and fifteen minutes, or up to three hours longer.  Make sure to stir often.  The longer you cook this sauce the more delicious it is!  If you check on your sauce and it seems too thick, add a bit of water a tablespoon at a time.  When you are ready to serve, uncover the sauce, and add the reserved cooking liquid from the pasta (make sure you take this from the pot right before you dump the pasta).  Stir gently to combine.  Now, add the 1/2 cup of cheese to the sauce, stirring gently to combine.  Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.  Purée in the pan a little with an immersion blender, or remove half from the pan and blend in a blender until smooth.  I only like to blend it a bit since I enjoy the “paesano” chunkiness of the sauce– but if you prefer a smoother sauce, blend away.  Enjoy immediately! And again, and again, and again…



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  1. Lisa says:

    Looks delicious! Will be trying this one soon, thanks for sharing!

    04.11.16 Reply
  2. Dianne says:

    Ahh…the simple recipes are always the most delicious. Will give this a try…can taste it now! Thanks for sharing a family recipe!

    04.11.16 Reply
  3. Donna says:

    Yum!!! Thank you for sharing such a special recipie !!!

    04.11.16 Reply
  4. Sue says:

    Hi Eva, Kyle and Lowie,

    Looks delicious, I bet a certain Rose would go perfectly with this pasta! Thanks for sharing….I will put this in my rotation….along with Kyle’s Bolognase.

    Hope you, Kyle and Lowie are doing well.

    Love to all!
    Sue C.

    04.11.16 Reply
  5. Sherry says:

    So, when I see a recipe that calls for wine, I never know what to buy because I don’t drink. When at the wine store, I usually just pick a wine by how much I like the label. (Yes, a sophisticated method!) Please, help a girl out and tell me EXACTLY what to buy. Perhaps a few choices, keeping in mind I am in Salt Lake City.

    04.11.16 Reply
  6. We need to take a dinner to some friends who just had a baby soon…might have to double this and make it for them and our own dinner that night! Yum!

    04.11.16 Reply
  7. Candice says:

    I recently started following you and I absolutely love your blog, and snapchats too (I can relate to a lot of them as I have an 18mo old!). I’m going to try this recipe this week! Also, when I try to pin it, the pin itself when opened is just a large photo. It doesn’t direct to the recipe.

    04.11.16 Reply
  8. Issa says:

    Thank you for this recipe! Please post more pics of your lovely home in Rochester NY.

    04.11.16 Reply
  9. Adina says:

    Does this sauce freeze well?

    04.11.16 Reply
  10. Jessica says:

    Thanks for sharing! I lived in Italy & studied there too… (Florence city center)

    when I got back I cried because everything was so ugly (San Francisco) and I was deeply sad.

    It wasn’t long before I had Italian food again and now I will not eat Italian out (w/out special circumstances) or anyone else’s version.

    In Italy I took wine classes and cooking classes, etc.

    My biggest pet peeve is pasta that is over dressed – drowning in sauce. I actually prefer Pasta Al Pomodoro in the style of this hole in the wall by my apt which was basically : garlic, evo, basil, diced (fresh) tomato, and seasoned to taste.

    Where did you study? We are the same age, how weird would it be to have studied at the same time.

    I love your blog! Thank you for sharing, please excuse my verbose responses! That’s just how I am. ?

    04.12.16 Reply
  11. Adina says:

    Made this sauce tonight and absolutely loved it!!

    04.14.16 Reply
    • I love hearing that, Adina!! So glad you enjoyed it 🙂

      04.16.16 Reply
  12. Linda says:

    I made this sauce today. It was luscious – full of flavour. I’ll be making it again.
    Thanks for posting the recipe. And congratulations to you both on the new baby (to come).

    04.15.16 Reply
    • Linda! That’s awesome, I’m so happy you tried it and liked it! (sneaky secret: the leftovers are even better the next day!)


      04.16.16 Reply
  13. Areth Tsouprake says:

    I tried this tonight because it is a bit like sauce I have made before. I added some rosemary, a bay leaf, a bit of brown sugar and tomato paste. Served it over lobster ravioli, wow! How delicious. I will definitely be making this again.

    04.17.16 Reply
    • Hi Areth!
      Yum! So glad you enjoyed it!


      04.22.16 Reply
  14. lee says:

    This looks delicious – and I especially appreciate the two options of a chunky sauce or a smooth sauce. I’m not a huge fan of the chunky texture; but my husband is. So I could totally see splitting the sauce in half before smoothing some of it out. Then we both win!

    Thanks for sharing!

    04.18.16 Reply
    • Hi Lee! by the way, my hubby is totally the same in terms of preferring a smoother sauce, so I do it just like you!


      04.22.16 Reply
  15. Jennifer says:

    Made this this weekend and loved it! Threw in some ground beef and a frozen cube of pesto (since I didn’t have fresh basil). Once I figured out you meant 1-28 oz can, and not 128 oz, it was smooth sailing. Congratuations on your growing family!

    04.19.16 Reply
    • Yummy! Sounds delish! ha, yeah I think 128 oz you could create a swimming pool of ridiculously good red sauce! 😉

      04.22.16 Reply
  16. Ann says:

    This looks A-Maze-ing.
    Thank you, can’t wait to try.

    04.21.16 Reply
  17. Dina Ribaudo says:

    Bravo! That’s a Ridiculously Good Red Sauce. I usually stick with my family recipe, but this was beyond delicious. I used vermouth instead of wine as it was that, prosecco or the Barbera I was drinking. Only a slight blending was perfect. I kept it all for myself.
    Happy Mothers Day ?

    05.08.16 Reply
  18. Nicole says:


    Unfortunately I can’t use alcohol in this recipe as I want to make it for my toddler. What do you replace the white wine with when you make this for your little girl to eat?

    10.01.16 Reply
    • Hi Nicole! The alcohol in the wine actually burns off from the heat of the cooking so the recipe is non-alcoholic. I cook this as is for Marlowe! If you’re nervous about it you can always reduce the veggies with water or broth if you’d like but it does change the flavor!

      10.04.16 Reply
  19. Heather Fishleder says:

    This looks delicious! I’d love to make this using tomatoes from the garden. How would you suggest I measure the amount of tomatoes if I don’t use San Marzano and instead use real garden tomatoes? Thanks!

    08.30.17 Reply
  20. Natalie says:

    I decided to make this sauce for our New Years Day meal because I love staying in and being cozy while something yummy simmers on the stove all day. So while the black eyed peas were going in the crock pot, I got going on this sauce and it did NOT disappoint!! It was easy and made the entire house smell devine! Also, hands down the best red sauce to ever come out of my kitchen!! Thanks so much Eva!!! I think this may be our new New Years Day meal tradtition!!

    01.01.18 Reply
  21. Laura says:

    Oh my goodness, I made this recipe today, and it is THE best red sauce I have ever tasted. (And I’ve been cooking for 30 years and thought I knew everything—guess not!) Brava, bellisima!

    04.08.18 Reply