Napoletana pasta sauce

The simple things are often the best.

  • 1 hr 15 mins cooking
  • Makes 4 Cup
  • Print
The mainstay sauce of southern Italy, the great and hearty napoletana, is the classic go-to pasta sauce when there is no meat to be had and the cupboard is almost bare. Made well, it is fit for a king.
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Napoletana pasta sauce
  • 1/3 cup (80ml) olive oil
  • 1 brown onion (150g), chopped finely
  • 3 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1/4 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1.5 kilogram (3 pounds) ripe tomatoes, chopped coarsely


Napoletana pasta sauce
  • 1
    Heat half of the oil in large saucepan; cook onion, garlic, basil and salt, stirring, until onion softens. Add paste; cook, stirring, 1 minute.
  • 2
    Add tomato; bring to the boil then reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, about 45 minutes or until sauce thickens. Stir in remaining oil; simmer, uncovered, 5 minutes.


To freeze, cool sauce to room temperature. Transfer to an airtight container. Label, date and freeze for up to three months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator. Reheat in a saucepan. Use as required. An equal quantity of canned diced tomatoes can be used instead of fresh tomatoes. This recipe makes enough sauce for 500g (1 pound) pasta, to serve four people.

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