Sugo Recipe


5 from 6 votes
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This sugo recipe is so quick and easy! It’s full of rich tomato flavor that you can cook it with just eight ingredients in one pot.

sugo recipe.

Sugo means ‘sauce’ in Italian, and that’s what it is; a delicious yet simple sauce with classic Italian heritage.

Like pomodoro sauce, It uses basic yet tasty ingredients you will probably already have stocked in your pantry.

Table of Contents
  1. Why you’ll love this sugo recipe
  2. Ingredients Needed
  3. How to Make Sugo
  4. Tips and Tricks
  5. What to Serve Sugo With
  6. Storage Instructions
  7. Recommended tools to make this recipe
  8. More ways to use this sauce
  9. Frequently Asked Questions
  10. Sugo Recipe (Recipe Card)

Why you’ll love this sugo recipe

You can whip up this sauce in under 15 minutes, so it’s one that I love making on a busy weeknight. It’s super tasty over a bowl of pasta, but it is also perfect when used in baked pasta like lasagna or as a base for a pizza. It’s so tasty; I love whipping up this sauce at least once a week!

  • It uses simple ingredients. You can easily make this sauce with pantry staples, which makes it a great, budget-friendly, and time-saving meal.
  • It can be ready in less than 15 minutes. This sauce can be prepped and cooked very quickly. Most of the cooking time is hands-off, reducing time so you can get on with other parts of the meal.
  • It is so versatile. This sauce can be used on pasta, as a dipping sauce, or as a part of a baked dish.

Ingredients Needed

  • Canned chopped tomatoes- You can also use fresh blanched tomatoes, but the cooking time will be a little longer. I like to make this swap in the summer when tomatoes are at the height of their season.
  • Olive oil- To saute the aromatics, which are the onions and garlic.
  • Onion- Gives the sauce its base flavor.
  • Garlic- I like using fresh whole cloves that I crush myself for the best flavor.
  • Tomato paste- Adds richness and some intense tomato flavor to the sauce. 
  • Salt and pepper- To bring out all the flavors. These can be adjusted at the end of cooking to fit your personal taste.
  • Sugar- The key ingredient to balance out the acidity in tomatoes. It might sound weird, but I promise it makes a difference.
  • Chopped Basil- Tomatoes and basil are an Italian match made in heaven. You can also swap this out for fresh arugula.

How to Make Sugo

This sauce is so easy to make, even beginner Italian cooks will be able to make it with ease! All the ingredients are cooked in one pot, melding down into a rich and flavorful tomato sauce that is hard to beat.

Step 1- Saute the Aromatics

Warm the olive oil over medium heat in a large saucepan. Place the onions and crushed garlic into the pan until softened and transparent. You don’t want them to brown too much, as this will affect the flavor of your sauce.

Step 2- Add the tomato paste

Next, add the tomato paste and stir it through the garlic and onion. Cook for 1 minute while stirring consistently to ensure they don’t catch. This will cook off the tomato paste and intensify the flavor to make the final sauce richer.

Step 3- Add the tomatoes

Mix the tomatoes them through your aromatics until well blended, and reduce the heat to low. You want your sauce to reduce slowly and not risk burning. Cook for 8-10 minutes until thickened.

Step 4- Season and Serve

To finish off the sauce, add the salt, pepper, sugar, and basil and mix until evenly dispersed. Make sure to taste your sauce before you serve it so you can adjust the seasoning to suit your tastebuds.


Tips and Tricks

  • Season at the end. Doing this at the beginning can make your sauce come out very salty, so always salt after the sauce has reduced.
  • Spice it up! Like heat? Why not add some chili flakes or some cayenne pepper?
  • Reduce just enough. Too long, and it will be too strong. Not long enough, and the flavor will be weak.

What to Serve Sugo With

We have discovered that sugo is a versatile sauce you can serve with many dishes.

Try it over a bowl of pasta topped with freshly grated parmesan cheese. You can also use it as the base for a homemade pizza or a veggie-packed dish like eggplant rollatini. I also find this to be a really tasty dipping sauce for fries or mozzarella sticks.

Storage Instructions

To store: Place in an airtight container and store in the fridge for up to three days.

To reheat: Pop in the microwave or heat in a pot on the stove for a few minutes until it bubbles. You can also toss it through pasta and heat it all together.

To freeze: Portion into an airtight container and freeze for up to 6 months.

  • Saucepan. My tried-and-tested pan never burns or leaves marks.
  • Spatula. Non-stick spatulas to fully mix everything together perfectly.
  • Stockpot. If you want to make a double or triple batch of this sauce, a stockpot simmer it together beautifully.
sugo sauce.

More ways to use this sauce

Did you know you can use this sugo recipe to replace marinara sauce in almost any recipe? Here are some suggestions:

Frequently Asked Questions

Can sugo be made with meat?

Yes, if you’d like a bolognese-style sauce, add 1 lb of ground beef to the sauce and simmer for 10-15 minutes.

What kind of pasta is best with sugo?

Sugo is typically served with a thin pasta like spaghetti, tagliatelle, or linguine. However, it can also be served with shorter pasta shapes like penne or rigatoni.

Is this sauce vegan and/or gluten-free?

Not only is this sauce delicious, but it’s also completely vegan and gluten-free. It uses no animal or wheat products, so it’s completely safe for those with gluten allergies and those who eat a plant-based diet. 

What is the difference between sugo and marinara sauce?

These two Italian classic sauces are very similar tomato-based sauces, but they are different. Sugo is basically a smoother and thicker version of marinara that uses very similar ingredients.

red sauce recipe.

Sugo Recipe

5 from 6 votes
This sugo recipe is so quick and easy! It's full of rich tomato flavor that you can cook with just eight ingredients in one pot.
Servings: 4 servings
Prep: 1 minute
Cook: 15 minutes
Total: 16 minutes


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic crushed
  • 1 small onion sliced
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 28 ounces canned tomatoes chopped and peeled
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 cup basil chopped


  • In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium heat
  • Add the garlic and onion and cook for 3-4 minutes until softened. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring constantly for about one minute.
  • Add canned tomatoes, reduce heat, and simmer for 8-9 minutes to thicken the sauce.
  • Season with salt, pepper, sugar, and basil to taste.


TO STORE. Place in an airtight container and store in the fridge for up to three days.
TO REHEAT. Pop in the microwave or heat in a pot on the stove for a few minutes until it bubbles. You can also toss it through pasta and heat it all together.
TO FREEZE. Portion into an airtight container and freeze for up to 6 months.


Serving: 1servingCalories: 111kcalCarbohydrates: 18gProtein: 4gFat: 4gSodium: 585mgPotassium: 663mgFiber: 4gVitamin A: 648IUVitamin C: 21mgCalcium: 81mgIron: 3mgNET CARBS: 14g
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: Italian
Author: Arman Liew
Tried this recipe?Give us a shout at @thebigmansworld or tag #thebigmansworld!

Arman Liew

I’m a two time cookbook author, photographer, and writer, and passionate about creating easy and healthier recipes. I believe you don’t need to be experienced in the kitchen to make good food using simple ingredients that most importantly, taste delicious.

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