Napoli Sauce – Italian tomato sauce



The most important step in making a good Napoli sauce is in selecting the right tomatoes. I am sure home grown tomatoes are a great for a Napoli sauce, but I have tried and get the best results by using canned Italian tomato. A wise Italian explained to me to only use canned tomatoes that contain only tomatoes and tomato juice. The theory goes that additional citric acid is only ever added because the tomatoes where not fully ripe when they where canned in order to preserve them. Whether or not this is true by following this tip I have ended up with the best tasting Napoli sauce.

This is a general purpose sauce that can be used with pasta dishes, pizza toping etc… I generally make a big pot full an freeze it in 2 cup quantities so it is always on hand to make a quick pasta e.t.c…



Here are the ingredients (oops forgot the oregano), dried herbs are fine with this recipe . If I want to add fresh herbs, such as basil, I just use it on the pizza etc at the time I am cooking. Note if you don’t have access to vegetable stock cubes 1/2 a litre of reduced vegetable stock is fine.



Before adding the tomatoes to the Napoli sauce a decision needs to be made. If you want a sweeter sauce, and I have seen some Napoli sauce recipes add sugar, you just need to put the tomatoes through a deseeding gadget. This is mine a little clunky but does the job. The concept is that the seeds, when cooked, add bitterness to the flavour of the Napoli sauce, remove the seeds and “hey presto” sweeter sauce.

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Napoli Sauce
Recipe type: Source
  • Olive oil
  • ½ Onion (chopped up finely)
  • 1 tablespoon red capsicum (chopped up finely)
  • ½ tablespoon garlic (chopped up finely)
  • ½ tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 400g tins of tomatoes (crushed)
  • 2 vegetable stock cubes
  • ½ tablespoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon of dried basil
  • ½ teaspoon dried parsley
  • Pepper to season
  1. Cook the onion in the olive oil until golden, then add the capsicum and garlic.
  2. After the garlic becomes aromatic add the tomato paste and cook for 1 minute
  3. Add all remaining ingredients simmer for 45 minutes.
  4. Stir through ½ tablespoon of olive oil and cool then store.
The key to picking canned tomatoes is to choose the ones that only contain tomatoes and juice with no additional food acid or preservatives. The theory here (or old Italian wives tale) is that if the tomatoes are ripe when they are canned the additives are not needed.





  1. Gerri says

    Thats a great tip about tinned tomatoes … i was at the supermarket today buying tinned tomatoes and found it helpful :)

    • Dave says

      It is all about knowing people that know stuff. It is interesting that the old Italians grow their own tomatoes and make sauce, where the current 2nd, 3rd generation Australian Italians balance it with the convenience of buying canned. It is a bit sad that the Australian canned tomatoes are just not the same, I have tried a few brands and not a patch on these.

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