Napoletana Sauce

One of my favourite things to do on a weekend is make pasta sauce. It’s one of those simple pleasures that doesn’t actually take that much time or effort and when it’s done slowly, it’s full bodied and flavoursome, an entirely different taste to a quick pasta sauce.

Pasta is a great weeknight meal, it’s relatively simple & can be on the table in under thirty minutes. This pasta sauce, is not like that. This one will take an afternoon. It will fill your house with the smell of an Italian cucina, set your mouth watering and your mind wondering ‘when’s dinner?’.

This can be made in as big a batch as you like. I would suggest at least 3 kilos of tomatoes though, they will reduce heavily before the sauce is ready. Use the ripest tomatoes you can find, even super soft, overripe tomatoes are fine, they’re more flavoursome.

You need a lot of tomatoes

They need a little preparation and you’ll need a few extra ingredients

Once it’s cooked for hours and hours, strain it & push as much of the cooked tomato flesh out as you can.

A little stir to bring it back together & voila! Napoletana Sauce

Serve stirred through spaghetti, with a little extra on top (not just on top, it’s not corretto)

It’s so good I didn’t even stop to take photos when we had it the first time, I made sure there were leftovers for lunch though!


Napoletana Sauce

  • 3kg very ripe tomatoes, halved, top stem section removed
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • freshly ground salt & pepper
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 vegetable stock cube (I used 1 T vegeta stock)
  1. Place all ingredients into a large stock pot, tomatoes first, everything else on top.
  2. Cook on a low heat for 3-5 hours, stirring occasionally.
  3. Once the water from the tomatoes has evaporated and the sauce looks thick, strain through a colander, pushing through as much flesh as you can.
  4. Scrape any flesh off the underside of the colander into the pot.
  5. Mix the strained sauce to bring it back together. It may need a little extra time over a low heat to reduce further. Otherwise, serve hot, stirred through spaghetti with a little Parmesan cheese on top.

You may like to add a little chilli oil (or freshly chopped chilli) to the sauce. Depending on how hot you like it (very) add it at the start or (not very) add some right at the end. Alternatively, you could use chilli oil to give it a bit of kick.

If you’d like to “carnivore-ate” this sauce, it’ll no longer be a Napoletana but it’ll taste great. This method requires straining the sauce before the sauce has fully reduced.

  • Find 3-4 really good quality Italian sausages (the barbecue kind, not the dried/cured kind)
  • Remove the skins, you can do this by simply squeezing out the mince.
  • Add the sausage meat to the sauce after it has been strained, break up the mince while it’s in the sauce into very small pieces using a wooden spoon.
  • Continue to cook on a low heat until the sauce has reduced to the desired consistency.
  • Serve with a rigatoni or spirali pasta.

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