This easy spaghetti sauce without tomato paste is just as thick as all the other ones and is full of hidden flavors. It’s full of intense and savory aromas that will overwhelm your senses from the very first taste.
And the best part is that it’s made with nothing more than a few simple ingredients.
Homemade spaghetti sauce without tomato paste
Making our homemade spaghetti sauce without any tomato paste is practically a tradition in our household. Ever since I can remember, my mother would simply use a can of our homegrown tomatoes when she was making her pasta sauce.
She never used any tomato puree and once I grew up I found it odd when I saw others vehemently advocating its use.
Anyways, you’ll find that this recipe is quite easy to make, and it will net you a sauce with a great consistency if you follow it through.
As a bonus, I’ve also added a few ways in which you can make the sauce thicker, in case you don’t like the one I’m using.
Ingredients You’ll Need
- Meat: This recipe is made with Italian sausage, but you can easily substitute it with beef without sacrificing quality.
Just remember to increase the spices and add a pinch of paprika if you do.
- San Marzano Tomatoes: San Marzano tomatoes are a staple in Italian sauces due to their low acidity.
You can also use other varieties of plum tomatoes such as Amish paste, if you can’t get your hands on them.
- Vegetables: You need nothing more than onions and garlic to elevate the flavor of this sauce.
However, you can still add other vegetables if you’d like to experiment.
- Italian Spices: Oregano, basil, salt and pepper.
Ordinary spices for extraordinary results.
- Cornstarch: Cornstarch is used as a substitute to tomato paste.
It will make the sauce less watery and give it a denser texture.
How to prepare it
Check out the recipe card at the end of this article for detailed, step-by-step instructions.
Start by cooking the sausages or beef in a pot or a large cooking pan.
If you’re using sausages, remove them from their casing and cook the meat until it turns golden-brown.
Once the meat is done, remove it from the pan and place it in a bowl.
Proceed by sauteing the onions and garlic in a large pot on low heat.
Don’t worry about the amount of olive oil.
Traditional Italian recipes are made with large quantities of cooking oil and a lot of root vegetables.
This mixture is known as a sofrito and will serve as a base for our sauce.
Once the sofrito is ready, stir in the cooked meat along with the fresh or canned tomatoes.
Season with the dried spices and let the sauce simmer for an hour and a half to two hours.
The longer the sauce cooks, the thicker it will become.
In case your sauce isn’t thick enough or you’re in a hurry, you can add some cornstarch to improve its consistency.
Simply mix a teaspoon of cornstarch with the same amount of water and add the slurry to the sauce.
Garnish the sauce with the fresh basil and serve with spaghetti or any other type of pasta!
Bonus tip: If you want to improve the taste of your spaghetti, add a handful of salt to the pasta water before boiling them. Boiling pasta with small amounts of salt tends to make it taste flat.
How to thicken a spaghetti sauce without adding any tomato paste?
Cornstarch may not be the ideal thickener if you’re on a healthy diet and want to stick to organic ingredients.
Fortunately, there are a few other ways in which you make your pasta sauce thicker without using any tomato paste or cornstarch.
Here’s how you can do it:
- Increase cooking time. Making a great spaghetti sauce doesn’t mean you necessarily need to add tomato paste.
By simply simmering your pasta sauce for longer periods of time you’ll let the excess liquid evaporate and make it denser.
Moreover, this will also cut the acidity of the tomato sauce, which is a win-win in my book.
Just remember to reduce the heat to low once the sauce gets boiling.
- Add flour. Flour is often used as a thickening agent for a number of sauces, soups, and stews.
However, simply adding a pinch of flour into your sauce won’t make it any denser.
You’ll first need to melt one part of butter in a pan, add the same amount of flour and vigorously mix with a wooden spoon until all of the flour dissolves in the butter.
Once this is done, you can add a tablespoon of the mixture to your tomato sauce and cook it for an additional 30 minutes.
This will let the flour fully blend with the sauce without leaving an aftertaste.
- Sprinkle some breadcrumbs. Breadcrumbs are probably the best and easiest substitute for tomato puree.
Once you add them, they’ll soak up some of the liquid and give the sauce a richer taste.
In most cases, 1/4 cup of breadcrumbs will be more than enough.
You can also try this method when you’re making vodka pasta.
- Infuse the sauce with grated cheese. If you don’t have any tomato paste, you can try adding grated Parmesan or Romano cheese.
When the cheese dissolves, it will quickly improve the consistency of your sauce and make it thicker.
However, it will also change its flavor and make it saltier.
So if you’re going to try this method, try reducing the amount of salt in the recipe by half.
Tips and Variations
- Add more vegetables. You can improve the flavors of this sauce by adding more vegetables such as carrots, celery, and even mushrooms.
In case you do, remember to increase the amount of olive oil and use a larger pot.
- Reduce acidity. If your sauce ends up tasting acidic, you can cut out its sour taste by using a pinch of baking soda.
Baking soda is a base and will neutralize the acid in the tomatoes. You can check this article to see a few more tricks that make tomato sauce less acidic.
- Leave out the meat. You can turn this recipe into a simple marinara sauce by entirely removing the meat.
In case you do, you should also cut the amount of tomatoes by half and leave out the water.
Some unconventional ideas on where to use this sauce: The Best Stuffed Spaghetti Squash Recipe Ideas
You can refrigerate spaghetti sauce for up to 3 days in an airtight container without any loss in quality.
If you want to store it for longer, you can fill it in a bag and store it in your freezer.
This way you’ll be able to enjoy its taste in the following three months.
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Homemade Spaghetti Sauce Without Tomato Paste
- 2 onions finely chopped
- 4 cloves garlic crushed
- 28 ounces tomatoes crushed
- 28 ounces fresh tomatoes diced
- ½ pound Italian sausage or ground beef
- ½ cup water
- 2 tsp Italian seasoning
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- ¼ cup fresh basil chopped
- 100 ml Olive oil
- 1 tsp cornstarch
- Remove the sausages from their casing and brown them in a Dutch oven or another large pot.
- Set the cooked sausage aside and saute the onion and garlic in the olive oil for 10 to 15 min. on low heat. The aromatics released during this time will serve as a base for the sauce.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- Once the onions have softened, stir in the sausage, the diced and the crushed tomatoes, and water to the cooking pan.
- Add the dried spices to the sauce.
- Let the sauce simmer on low for about 1 to 2 hours. The longer you simmer the sauce, the thicker it will become.
- In case the sauce isn't thick enough or you're in a hurry, make a cornstarch slurry by mixing 1 tsp cornstarch with 1 tsp water.
- Add the slurry to the sauce and mix until it thickens.
- Mix in the fresh basil once the sauce finishes cooking.
- You can add carrots, celery, and even mushrooms for a richer taste. If you choose to add more vegetables, you should increase the amount of olive oil accordingly.
- If the sauce ends up being too acidic, you can add 1/4 tsp of baking soda to neutralize the uric acid in the tomatoes. Another way you can reduce the acidic taste of the tomatoes is by adding 1 tsp of sugar.
- For better tasting spaghetti or pasta, add a handful of salt to the cooking water and boil the pasta in a large pot.
- Cut out the meat and water, and reduce the amount of tomatoes by half to turn this into a marinara sauce.
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I do my best to provide you with the nutritional information for recipes but I'm not a certified nutritionist. The nutritional information provided should only be treated as an estimate since it will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.