Tomato Sauce: Frank’s Killer Recipe

My tomato sauce recipe is delicious. Tomato sauce is just a great base for so many other recipes. You can serve it as a pasta sauce, add it to your soups and stews, or make a fresh and tasty dip.

Tomato Sauce Recipe | My Croatian Food & Other Recipes
Tomato Sauce Recipe | My Croatian Food & Other Recipes

There are so many ways to enjoy your homemade tomato sauce. Believe me when I says that it is better to have a homemade tomato sauce in the freezer, than money in the bank.

Tomato sauce is really easy to make. All you need are few fresh ingredients (tomatoes, carrots, onions) and time for this slow-cooking adventure.

I make tomato sauce every year. In early October, I go to get my free, fresh tomatoes at the local producer.

Tomato Sauce
Red, ripe, flavorsome tomatoes

These days big-box stores don’t want any fruit that doesn’t look perfect. That means that each of them needs to be the same size, weight, shape and color. I find this completely stupid.

If you think of a natural way to grow vegetables, there shouldn’t be even two of the same kind. In my opinion if the entire case of tomatoes looks the same, I wouldn’t believe they are natural.

Anyways, thanks to this big-box stores’ requirement, I have a chance to get my tomatoes for free. When the tomato season comes close to the end, my buddy and I go to see a local producer at his greenhouse. We can pick as many tomatoes as we want. And it is all for free. If we don’t pick them, the tomatoes would go to garbage.


Tomato Sauce Stored for Winter
My freezer is full of tomato sauce

Tomato Sauce Recipe

Basic Ingredients:

  • 4 kg of tomatoes
  • 1 kg of onion
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • sugar

Optional ingredients:

  • 1/2 kg of carrots (optional)
  • 1/2 red peppers (optional)
  • 1 garlic (optional)
  • Mediterranean herbs (optional)

Depending on your taste and budget, you can make tomato sauce using only basic ingredients (tomatoes, onions, olive oil and salt). Using basic ingredients your tomato sauce will preserve the full taste of tomatoes. my mother in law always make this plain, simple and delicious tomato sauce. The secret of a great tomato sauce is in olive oil. The sauce takes lots of olive oil, the more, the better.

I always like to make things different. So, in my tomato sauce, I also add carrots for sweetness, red peppers for the taste, and Mediterranean herbs for the smell.

Tomato Sauce - Chop tomatoes and onions
Chopped tomatoes and onions

Wash your tomatoes and cut them into chunky pieces (quarters). Chop your onions, carrots, red peppers and garlic. Put some oil in your pot and heat it. Add carrots. Put your heat to the lower level. Simmer them for a while before adding onions, peppers and garlic. Simmer for few minutes all together and add your tomatoes. Let everything cook slowly at the low fire.

Tomato Sauce Recipe: Simmering and Stiring Your Sauce
Cook slowly and stir regularly your tomato sauce

Stir regularly (every few minutes) with a wooden spoon. This is the whole recipe. Keep cooking until everything gets mostly disintegrated. The longer you simmer your sauce, the thicker the sauce will get. And it will achieve rich and complex flavor.  I simmers my sauce for at least two hours. Once I remove it from the fire, I let it cool down a little bit. I add olive oil. Good tomato sauce takes lots of olive oil. I blend everything with a stick mixer. If needed, I add a tea spoon of sugar to kill acidity (if there is any).

My mother-in-law tomato sauce recipe

Basic ingredients are the same. The process is a bit different. Cut your tomatoes in half. Squeeze each half to remove excess of water in your tomatoes. Chop your onions. Warm your oil, add chunks of onions and add your tomatoes. Cook on a law fire for at least one hour. Stir regularly with a wooden spoon. After about an hour of cooking, remove from the heat. Pass your ingredients through a food mill. Make sure you press them through the mill as much as possible.

Tomato Sauce - Food Mill Processing
Half way cooking, you can pass your tomatoes through a food mill

The remaining sauce, she puts back to fire and cook for another hour. This way her tomato sauce doesn’t need blending at the end of cooking. Add plenty of olive oil. Don’t be cheap. rather add more than less. My mother-in-law would add at least half a liter of olive oil on this quantity of tomatoes.

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7 thoughts on “Tomato Sauce: Frank’s Killer Recipe”

  1. Hi Patricia, I recognize your maiden name, mine is Mircovich. My sister and I have been trying to replicate our mother’s zvatet. Closest we came was this: 2-3 onions, garlic, put through food processor, saute in olive oil, add meat (I do veal cubes, my sister uses meat cubes) crushed tomato sauce and simmer for a few hours. Im sorry its not a precise recipe but that’s how our mother cooked, no recipes, everything was in her head. Hope this helps.

  2. My Croatian family made a sauce that I am trying to find. This is what the word sounds like. zvatseh Spelling? It wasn’t a purely red sauce . I think the meat added a brown color to the tomatoes. Are you familiar with this dish?

  3. Hi Mariana! Thanks for stopping by. It’s true that pizzerias here have a special formula for their sauce. And mine never tastes like theirs. However, I love tomato sauce so much, that any homemade sauce will work for me. Try this one, and let me know who it was. Any plans on visiting Croatia soon? 1998 was awhile ago. :)

  4. Hi frank , I got this link for the sauce from your page did I tell you how good the pizza in Croatia is …. So is this the sauce they use for their pizzas ? I am pregnant and CRAVING a pizza from Croatia , I have to agree with you , they are the best ! Is the secret in the sauce … Is that what makes them so extraordinary ? Admittingly I haven’t been to Croatia since 1998 an from memory the pizza s had really simple toppings back them … Pretty much some some quality ham cheese perhaps mushroom if you were lucky and sauce . Can you help a poor mother out in the thick of pregnancy cravings in approaching a pizza man and asking for his specific secrets ??? I have ample home grown tomatoes at the moment like a good Croat woman does so I will try this simple sauce recipe first . Wish me luck ! Great blog by the way , well done

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