Culinary Arts

How to Make Homemade Sauce Tomat: Classic Tomato Sauce Recipe

Written by MasterClass

May 20, 2019 • 3 min read

Tomato sauce has many variations—it can be chunky or smooth, made with fresh or canned tomatoes, made in 30 minutes or set to simmer all afternoon. One thing that separates sauce tomat from the rest is its use of pork. Rendered over low heat, the fat is used to sauté aromatic vegetables to make a flavorful base, then add on a lengthy cooking time to turn whole tomatoes into a rich, complex sauce and you’ve got a recipe that's unapologetically French.


What Is Sauce Tomat?

Sauce tomat is one of the five mother sauces in classical French cuisine. The sauce is made by cooking tomatoes in a base of pork fat, aromatics, and stock until it reduces into a thick sauce. Traditionally, it was further thickened with a roux, but modern adaptations often skip this step.

Is Sauce Tomat Different From Italian Tomato Sauce?

Although similar in appearance, there are some differences between French sauce tomato and Italian tomato sauce. When compared with a simple Italian tomato sauce recipe, sauce tomat requires a longer cooking time and extra ingredients to develop its rich flavors. The additional items are:

  1. Pork fat. Salted pork is rendered for its flavorful fat and used to sauté aromatic vegetables, like garlic, onion, carrots, and celery (aka mirepoix).
  2. Veal Stock. Veal stock is considered a staple in traditional French cooking. It plays an important role for a rich base flavor in the sauce. In home kitchens, veal stock can be substituted for chicken stock.
  3. Herbal sachet. A sachet of fresh herbs, such as thyme, parsley, and bay leaves, is added while the sauce is simmering.
  4. Roux. Traditionally roux (a flour-based thickener) is used to add a rich texture to the sauce, but modern versions may skip it or use tomato paste instead.

3 Tomato Sauce Derivatives

The derivatives of tomato sauce include:

  1. Portuguese sauce: A sauce of sautéed onions, chopped tomatoes, and cloves of garlic that's finished with chopped fresh parsley.
  2. Spanish sauce: A spicier sauce of sautéed onions, green peppers, mushrooms, and garlic.
  3. Creole sauce: A sauce of sautéed onions, celery, green peppers, bay leaf, thyme, red pepper, and garlic.

What to Serve With Basic Tomato Sauce

  • Pasta sauce. Serve homemade tomato sauce over homemade al dente pasta and shavings of Parmesan cheese.
  • Lasagna. Tomato sauce can be used in layers with ground beef and cheese in lasagna.
  • Pizza. Spread tomato sauce in a thin layer over freshly rolled out pizza dough and finish with toppings like mozzarella and fresh basil.
  • Polenta. Spoon tomato sauce generously over creamy or fried polenta.
  • Meatballs or Meatloaf. Spoon warmed tomato sauce over homemade meatballs and meatloaf for the ultimate comfort food.
  • Eggs in Purgatory. Try simmering a cup of tomato sauce with red pepper flakes in a small skillet and gently crack in two eggs. Cover and cook over medium-high heat until the egg whites set. Finish with grated Parmesan and chopped fresh basil.
  • Poached Cod. Cod becomes extra flavorful when poached in tomato sauce. Spoon extra sauce over the fish when serving.
  • Mozzarella Sticks. Use tomato sauce to dunk crispy, gooey mozzarella sticks.

Homemade Sauce Tomat Recipe

Prep Time
10 min
Total Time
2 hr 10 min
  • 2 ounces diced salt pork
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 1 cup carrots, diced
  • 1 cup celery, diced
  • 2 28-ounce cans good quality crushed tomatoes, such as San Marzano tomatoes (or 3 ½ pounds fresh tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and diced)
  • 1 quart veal stock (or chicken stock)
  • 1 ham bone
  • Herb sachet: 4 parsley sprigs, 1 bay leaf, 2 sprigs thyme tied in cheesecloth
  • Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
  1. Preheat the oven to 300°F.
  2. In a oven-safe Dutch oven, cook the pork over low heat until the fat has melted.
  3. Add the garlic, onions, carrots, and celery, increase to medium heat, and cook until soft and golden, 3-4 minutes.
  4. Add the raw tomatoes along with their juices, the stock, ham bone, and herb bouquet. Bring to a boil, cover with lid, and transfer to the oven. Simmer in the oven, covered loosely for two hours. Alternatively, you can transfer the sauce to a slow cooker and cook on low heat for 4 hours.
  5. Remove from the oven, discard ham bone and herb bouquet. Let cool slightly, and purée sauce in a blender or food processor until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  6. The sauce may be used immediately, refrigerated for 3 or 4 days, or frozen up to 6 months.

Note: For a vegetarian-friendly version, skip the ham bone and replace the salt pork with 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil.