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Rich Tomato Sauce – Only THREE Ingredients

With only THREE ingredients this Rich Tomato Sauce recipe is so easy to make yet tastes like you are in a fine Italian restaurant. Grab an onion, a can of tomatoes and some butter (yes butter!) and let’s go! Dinner will be ready in under an hour.

Rich Tomato Sauce over pasta

Going meatless for a few meals a week is easy with recipes like this plum tomato sauce. Using only a few tablespoons of butter can do some magic when combined with the bite of the onion and the sweetness of the tomatoes.


This one is easy, friends! You are so close to this authentic tasting Italian tomato sauce from scratch.

Just assemble your three ingredients:

  1.  can of plum tomatoes
  2.  an onion
  3.  tablespoons of butter
A can of plum tomatoes with an onion and a few pats of butter on a counter

Yes, that is some butta!

Chefs have been adding full on whipping cream to your restaurant pastas, so what’s a few pats of butter spread in to 4 servings.


In my opinion plum tomatoes are the best for sauce. If you can get San Marzano, I recommend those. San Marzano Italy is home to these deep red, plum-type tomatoes for that rich tomato sauce used in Italian cooking.

It will taste like that old fashioned Italian spaghetti sauce you are craving. Simplicity at it’s finest.

Into the sauce pan goes those plum tomatoes, onion and butter. An effortless trio.

A Sauce pan with plum tomatoes, onion and butter

Bring them to a bubbling simmer over medium high heat.

The butter will melt and the onion starts to soften.

Rich tomato sauce stewing in a large saucepan

Turn the heat down to a low simmer and let cook for about 45 minutes, stirring every so often, breaking up the pieces of tomato, leaving the halved onion in tact.

This is when the magic happens. ๐Ÿ™‚

A wooden spatula breaking up tomatoes in a saucepan

After the 45 minutes is up discard the onion and keep warm while you start on your spaghetti of choice.


For me it was spelt pasta. It’s easy to cook. Ten minutes in a pot of boiling water, with a small swirl of olive oil to prevent the noodles from sticking to one another, stirring them around pretty frequently.

Drain the pasta and top with sauce. I get four servings out of this recipe.

Rich tomato sauce over pasta

The verdict? I like this sauce a lot. I totally got a creamy flavour that was reminiscent of a pasta my BFF used to make when we were roomies. She trained as a chef so naturally it contained the ever popular whipping cream. With just that amount of butter, a real silkiness was achieved.

I can see why it is so admired by many food bloggers.

The spelt spaghetti was super good. I somehow managed to cook the noodles perfectly and they were the right amount of ‘al dente’. It’s a great substitute for the white, refined stuff.


Something else I loved? Dinner was made in under and hour. Nice. A fantastic choice if you are searching for meat free meals for families.

This ones in the vault.

I found this recipe on SmittenKitchen who adapted it from Marcela Hazan.


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Vegan Alfredo Sauce

*Originally posted May 15, 2013. Updated February 23, 2020*

Be sure to follow me on social media! I love pinning to Pinterest, sharing on Facebook and posting pics to Instagram. See you there.  ๐Ÿ™‚

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Rich Tomato Sauce – Only THREE Ingredients

Sharon Rhodes
With only THREE ingredients this Rich Tomato Sauce recipe is so easy to make yet tastes like you are in a fine Italian restaurant. Grab an onion, a can of tomatoes and some butter (yes butter!) and let's go! Dinner will be ready in under an hour.

5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 4 servings
Calories 172 kcal



  • Place all ingredients into a saucepot and bring to a bubbling simmer.
  • Turn the heat down and let simmer over low heat for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally, breaking up tomatoes with the back of the spoon.
  • Discard the onion and serve the sauce over your pasta of choice. I liked spelt spaghetti with this recipe.


Serving: 4Calories: 172kcalCarbohydrates: 10gProtein: 2gFat: 14gSaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 38mgSodium: 286mgPotassium: 413mgFiber: 2gSugar: 5gVitamin A: 675IUVitamin C: 20.5mgCalcium: 72mgIron: 2mg
Keyword rich tomato sauce, three ingredient tomato sauce
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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  1. Suggestion: San Marzano tomatoes make the best sauce, but cooking them for 45 minutes actually minimizes the fresh taste. Keep in mind that those canned tomatoes are already cooked,

    Here is what I do, that you might want to try.
    Heat a pot over med. heat add about 1 1/2 tsp finely chopped garlic and cook for a couple minutes, just until softened, but not browned.

    Add 28 oz can whole San Marzano tomatoes; bring to a simmer and break them down with a potato masher, maintaining some texture.

    Simmer the sauce for no more than 5-7 mins.. while slowly adding in about 1 1/2 Tbsp butter, bit by bit until emulsified.

    That is it.

  2. As the bff mentioned in the post I will have to try your new recipe! I do confess I did make the old whipping cream, butter, wine, cup of parmesan cheese pasta sauce back in the day. It would take me 3 days to recover from that meal,,, I had zero knowledge I was lactose intolerant, and wheat sensitive. I was poisoning myself with every bite! Thank you Sharon for creating easy recipes that taste amazing! You are awesome! xxoxo

  3. Love this! I adore quinoa pasta as well, it really stands up and doesn’t get starchy. I am trying this tonight for the fam…you and I seem to be on the same cooking wavelength these days Sharon!

  4. This recipe looks so easy to make! I wouldn’t have thought of putting butter in, but it usually does make everything taste better, so it’s worth a try!

    I am a bit on the lazier side, so I can imagine myself not peeling the tomatoes, leaving the onion in, and using a hand blender to puree the sauce a bit.

    I haven’t come across your quinoa pasta post until now, but it sounds delicious!I usually have some leftover plain quinoa in my fridge anyway, so it’d be so convenient for me to make.

    The added nutritional benefits of the quinoa is a plus. I’ll try it with the 3 ingredient tomato sauce!

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