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The Best Tomatoes for Making an Italian Sauce from Scratch

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Let’s face it, Pasta sauce from a jar isn’t cutting it. It’s just doesn’t taste as good as the slow-cooked homemade version. Often times jarred tomato sauces are filled with unnecessary ingredients like sugar or cheese. We realize most people pick up a jar of tomato sauce because, well, it’s easy. Making a homemade sauce seems like a chore, right?
Nope. It doesn’t have to be. Even if the kitchen isn’t your favorite room in the house, making your own tomato sauce is simple. But what it all boils down to is using the right tomatoes. We’ll we will show you how to pick ‘em.

  1. SAN MARZANO-These deep red, plump-type tomatoes are grown in the Campania region of Italy. Their sweet flavor, dense pulp, and low acidity make them the perfect tomato for homemade sauces. They have a low seed count and their skin is easy to peel. Though raw San Marzano tomatoes seem tasteless, they produce a rich, savory flavor after cooking.
  2. ROMA– Oval shaped with dense, meaty flesh, Roma tomatoes are a standard when it comes to making tomato sauces. They have very few seeds and pack an incredible taste that’s hard to beat.
  3. AMISH PASTE– This heirloom tomato features a juicy, meaty flesh making it an excellent choice for a sauce. Developed in the United States, the Amish Paste tomato is juicier than other paste varieties; though perfect for sauces, a sliced Amish Paste tomato salad is quite delicious.
  4. VIVA ITALIA– One of the best of paste tomatoes, the Viva Italian has a sweet, meaty flesh that is great eaten fresh but also delicious cooked down to make a sauce. They’re also ideal for adding to soups and making homemade ketchup.
  5. BIG MAMA– Another, plum-shaped, meaty tomato. Are you seeing a pattern here? Big Mama tomatoes are easily peeled and cored and will produce a thick, sweet sauce. Like the rest of this list of wonderful tomatoes, Big Mamas are also delicious eaten fresh.

The key to a great tomato sauce is using sweet, meaty tomatoes that have very little seeds. Look for paste tomatoes who are thick, yet juicy. They will break down easily for a sauce and provide a great texture. When possible, use tomatoes that have been freshly-picked or are in season.

The riper, the better!

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