Classic Pasta Sauce

Classic Pasta Sauce - Mother Thyme
The key to a good sauce is letting it simmer for hours.
When it comes to my classic pasta sauce I use the method less is more.  I feel using simple ingredients and incorporating fresh herbs makes for a delicious sauce that can complete any pasta dish.  
Last week I featured Crepe Manicotti which if you missed that recipe, I encourage you to try it.  Crepes filled ricotta cheese and topped with a red sauce makes for a fantastic dinner and perfect for serving to guests.
Classic Pasta Sauce - Mother Thyme
Fresh Oregano
Classic Pasta Sauce - Mother Thyme
Fresh Thyme
Classic Pasta Sauce - Mother Thyme
Fresh Basil
I can’t tell you the last time I purchased sauce of the shelves from the grocery store.  I admit I have in the past but it has been a long, long time.  I always make my sauce in large batches and freeze or can the sauce so it is ready to grab when it is pasta night.   This is perfect to make on a chilly fall afternoon.  It doesn’t take that long to prep, the key is letting it simmer for a few hours and letting all the flavors blend.  With this sauce you can’t go wrong.  This recipe is adapted from my moms recipe that I have put my own twist on. I have made this recipe time and time again for years.  It is simple, delicious and the perfect sauce to grab out of the pantry or freezer to make endless pasta dishes with.  
Even though this is my go to pasta sauce, I always enjoy trying new sauce recipes.  I also like read recipes and see what others incorporate in to their sauce.  So if you are interested in trying a new sauce or still haven’t found a sauce you liked, give this a try and serve it Crepe Manicotti, it is delicious!  
Classic Pasta Sauce - Mother Thyme


Classic Pasta Sauce

  • Yield: Makes 7 pint size jars


  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup green pepper, diced
  • 1/2 cup white onion, diced
  • 23 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 28oz cans crushed tomatoes (84oz total)
  • 28oz can tomato puree
  • 6oz can tomato paste
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon fresh oregano, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon fresh basil, chopped
  • 1/4 cup red wine
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 bay leaf


  1. Heat olive oil and butter on medium low until butter is melted. Add pepper, onion and garlic and cook until slightly tender, about 7 minutes. Add in crushed tomatoes, puree, pasta and stir. Add oregano, thyme, basil, red wine, brown sugar, Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper and bay leaf and stir well.
  2. Turn heat to medium and bring sauce to a soft boil. Turn to low and simmer for 2-3 hours, stirring occasionally.

Can Sauce

  1. Remove bay leaf
  2. Sterilize jars by setting jars and lids in to boiling (212 degrees) water using a large pot or canning pot. Keep in water for at least 10 minutes or until ready to pour sauce in to jar.
  3. Remove jars from water and dry. Using a funnel, pour 2 cups sauce in to each pint size jars leaving a ½ inch header. Use a bubble remove around rim to remove any air bubbles. Tightly place lid and band on jar. Using a canning safe pot or holder, place jars in to boiling water. Water level should be above top of jars. Boil pint size jars for 35 minutes. Carefully remove jars from water using jar lifter.
  4. Set jars on a heat safe tray to cool. Let jars cool for at least 12-24 hours. Check jars but tapping the top lid. If the lid does not press down when pressed on, the canning process is complete.
  5. Bands can be removed if desired before storing sealed jars.

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Melt olive oil and butter on medium low heat.
Add peppers, onion, garlic and let cook until slightly tender. 
Add remaining ingredients, stir and let simmer on low for 2-3 hours.
To can, sterilize jars in boiling water.
Boil filled pint size jars for 35 minutes.  
Enjoy your sauce!

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  1. I do agree with you-the last pasta sauce I made took several hours but the end result was well worth it. This recipe is a little bit quicker than the one I used-I may need to try. Thanks for sharing!

  2. I always make essentially the same pasta sauce, so in my mind there’s basically one pasta sauce. I went to Reno this weekend because they had an italian festival and part of that was the pasta sauce tasting contest. Talk about SO MANY FLAVORS! I had no idea! I had strong opinions for or against every sauce I tasted. “Too plain! Too salty! Too sweet! Too acidic!” It was so much fun. 🙂

  3. I can’t wait to give this one a go. It sounds like there’s not too much prep which is always a plus. I haven’t quite mastered the canning process but I can freeze it easy peasy. I think it would make a wonderful Christmas present too.

  4. I know I’m taking over the comments but I just had to come back and tell you I made this today and wow it’s good. I did a half batch and filled three jars but there was a little left over. I had one spoon full and couldn’t stop it was so good. Thanks so much for the recipe. My family are all getting a jar for Christmas!

  5. Sound like a great recipe. You’re going to the trouble of using fresh herbs why not fresh tomatoes. Yes it takes longer but again you are controlling what’s in the jar.

  6. This sauce is amazing! I grew up w my Sicilian grandmother and am very picky about sauces, but this is now my go to sauce.
    I do have one question about the canning. I canned six jars and loved having this sauce ready to go. Sometime afterwards I was visiting my cousin who recently became obsessed w canning. She uses a pressure cooker and insisted that canning tomato sauce was not safe in hot water bath. It seems like you are quite experienced in canning and I was curious of your thoughts on this.

    Thank you!

  7. With these ingredients you really should be using a pressure cooker to get it hot enough. They are not acidic enough for the water bath canner, except for the tomatoes, but the other ingredients change the pH of the whole jar. Botulism is rare, but can happen, and is not always noticed. You may have been safe so far, but there is always that one time, that one chance. A bonus…pressure canning cuts the times in half usually.

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