Mamma Agata’s Tomato Sauce

Mamma Agata covering her famous tomato sauce in Ravello Italy, the taste sf san francisco

You need to try Mamma Agata’s tomato sauce recipe! It’s an authentic family recipe that’s easy and delicious! Check out more from our visit with Mamma Agata in Ravello (plus video) here. We’ve graciously been allowed to share with our readers Mamma Agata’s tomato sauce recipe, but you should also purchase her book. It has fantastic ways you can use this simple sauce, and dozens of other signature dishes like her lemon chicken and lemon cake. Her sauce is a base for many of our recipes at home as well. It’s just so good and simple!

Mamma Agata makes her famous tomato sauce in Ravello Italy, the taste sf san francisco
Mamma Agata, in the kitchen with an Italian Grandmother in Ravello making authentic eggplant parmesan in the amalfi coast, ravello - layering eggplant with her famous tomato sauce recipe, thetastesf #recipe #food #italianfood #sauce #tomato

You can order the book on Amazon, but it’s more fun to buy it in person at Mamma Agata’s. You can also order it directly on their website. It’s actually more cost effective and Chiara will sign your copy. Don’t forget to add an order of her tomatoes! They’re sweet and delicious, hand bottled each summer by the family. There are also other amazing items like their signature “Red Hell” Chili paste, honey, and now pastas. You can find them here, and they are shipped directly to you from Italy. We did our own taste test for the best tomatoes (see here). The closest thing we’ve found in the U.S. are these crushed tomatoes, but it’s still just not the same! If you don’t have cherry tomatoes to add, that’s okay. We often make this sauce in a pinch with no extra tomatoes and it’s still delicious!

For more ways to use this amazing pasta sauce, check out our easy eggplant parmesan, amazing vodka sauce, simple stuffed shells, spicy arrabbiata sauce, and ricotta gnocchi. Did you know that it’s important to match your pasta shape with the appropriate sauce? Check this out to learn how, and read our top 6 tips for making pasta like an Italian here.

See even more from our cooking class experience with Mamma Agata here.


4.8 from 4 reviews
Tomato Sauce: Salsa di Pomodoro
  • 1 litre vine-ripened roma tomatoes (pureed)
  • 10 fresh cherry tomatoes
  • 5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves of fresh garlic
  • 3 fresh basil leaves
  1. Add the olive oil, garlic and basil to a large saucepan. NOTE: When you add the olive oil, garlic and basil to the pan, do so all at the same time. Do not heat the oil first, then add the garlic and basil to the pan, but rather place all three ingredients into the pan at room temperature and then heat the pan.
  2. Heat the ingredients over a high flame to release the natural oils contained in the fresh garlic, greatly enhancing the flavors of the tomato sauce. Be careful not to allow the garlic to burn or the oil to smoke. If this happens, you must throw it out and start over. The garlic and oil should only be on the high flame for one to two minutes before proceeding to the next step.
  3. When the temperature of the oil begins to rise, add the tomato puree and fresh vine-ripened cherry tomatoes to the pan.
  4. Be careful not to burn yourself or let the oil or tomatoes slash on you. You should hear a nice sizzling sound and soon you’ll enjoy a wonderful aroma from the fragrant ingredients releasing their oils and combining to make this delicious homemade tomato sauce!
  5. Cook the sauce first over on a high flame just until the sauce begins to boil. Then, lower the flame to simmer the sauce covered for a total of thirty minutes (including the time it took to bring to a boil).
Mamma Agata’s Secret - The Roma tomatoes used to make this sauce should be vine ripened so they are sweet. Sweet tomatoes are the key ingredient in many Italian dishes. If the tomatoes are not ripe and sweet, we recommend adding a spoonful of sugar to sweeten the sauce.

As soon as you add the Roma tomato puree to the pan, add the 10 vine-ripened cherry tomatoes to the pan as well to further enhance the flavor of your sauce. This is an important step and you will be amazed how wonderful the sauce tastes in the end!

We salt to taste.





    1. I hadn’t either until this recipe! She said it’s important to use ripe ones. If I don’t have great ones (like in the winter) I leave them out, but love to make the original recipe when possible. Enjoy!!!

  1. Simple ingredients and am sure a sweet delicious sauce is the result. I totally believe that simple ingredients can result in great dishes when they are of great quality and cooked with love. Thank you and for mama agata for sharing 🙂

    1. So glad we could share it! It has become a go-to staple in our house and with our family. Everything Mamma makes is amazing and simple!

    1. Yes! Ingredients and simplicity are key!

      It’s amazing how regional cooking is in Italy. We even discussed with them the difference of mozzarella made with cow milk and made with buffalo milk. People in Salerno will use buffalo but people in Amalfi are closer to cows and will tend to use cow mozzarella.

  2. What an interesting recipe! I’m definitely going to try this method next time I make sauce – not heating the olive oil first, but putting it all in together at once. Are the garlic cloves and basil meant to stay whole? Or should they get chopped up first? It doesn’t specify in the recipe, so I was just curious. I just came back from my first ever trip to Italy and it was life changing! This was a fun post to read. Thanks! 🙂

    1. There is no chopping! (super simple) You use whole garlic and whole basil. So glad you had a wonderful trip! What parts of Italy did you visit? Let us know how it turns out and if you have any more questions!

    1. Ooh that sounds fantastic! I’d love to have our own garden someday. You can still try the recipe and just leave out the cherry tomatoes. We just made it this week and it was great. Sometimes you just need a good red sauce, especially when it’s chilly out in the fall or winter.

    1. Agreed! When we lived in Chicago we missed growing tomatoes ourselves! You can get some pretty fantastic canned/jarred ones. If you can’t find them in Alaska, I know you can order Italian ones via Mamma Agata or Eataly and they both ship.

  3. I first read this post about a week ago and tonight I was watching a travel programme on TV and Mamma Agata was surprisingly on it. Such a coincidence. I’m looking forward to trying her tomato sauce. Just one question, was there any seasoning added (salt, pepper etc.) Thank you for sharing.

    1. Hi Nick, Wow that’s great! What a coincidence. The recipe in her book does not list salt, however, after it’s simmered, we salt it to taste. There are no other seasonings needed. It’s so simple and delicious. Let us know how you like it and if you have any more questions! We have a spicy version we’ll be sharing in the next few weeks with a really cool pasta that we found from Calabria.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *