Tomato Sauces for Pasta

5 Authentic Italian Tomato Sauces for Pasta Recipes

Some of the most delicious tomato sauces for pasta, protagonists of Italian regional cusine, from the quick and easy Puttanesca sauce to the slow-cooked Bolognese.


Tomato sauces have always been among the most acclaimed protagonists of the Italian tradition. From north to south, Italian regional cuisine offers a rich variety of tomato sauces with meat, fish and vegetables. The most famous is the Bolognese meat sauce from Emilia. Lazio cuisine is renowned for its bacon flavored sauce Amatriciana, while the southern Italian regions often use vegetables and fish to create strong flavors like in the Pasta alla Norma recipe.

Below we suggest you some of the most delicious Italian tomato sauces for pasta.

Amatriciana Sauce: Tomato, Pork Cheek and Pecorino


Amatriciana Sauce

Pasta with Amatriciana Sauce... Bucatini or spaghetti? Bacon or cheek lard? Garlic or onion ? These are the main questions anyone who is about to cook for the first time this recipe has to deal with. It is said that this famous dish born in Amatrice was the main meal of the shepherds, but originally it was made without tomato and was named "Gricia". the tomato pulp was added later when this ingredient was imported from the Americas and the sauce was named Amatriciana. See how to make the Amatriciana sauce.

Bolognese Sauce: the Italian Tomato and Meat Sauce


Bolognese Sauce

The Bolognese rag├╣ is a specialty sauce prepared with minced meat. Many people use different types of meat, generally a mix of beef and only pork. 

For a successful Bolognese sauce, it is good to follow all the phases of cooking, with patience and attention and not in a hurry. The long cooking is in fact fondent for the right flavor and consistency of the sauce.

This tomato sauce is usually served with fresh egg tagliatelle, but is also a key ingredient in lasagna and cannelloni. In Emilia it is also served with polenta. Learn to make an authentic Bolognese sauce.

Sorrentina Sauce: Tomatoes and Mozzarella


Sorrentina Sauce

Sorrento is a town in the province of Naples known for its artistic beauty and its culinary tradition. In fact this tasty pasta recipe was born there.
The Sorrentina sauce is made either with cubed tomatoes, for a more rustic flavor, or with tomato puree.

Few simple ingredients such as onion, extra virgin olive oil, garlic and fresh basil leaves, together with a good Mozzarella, will help to flavor a simple homemade sauce. For this dish you can use any kind of pasta, but Gnocchi are the most popular one. Learn how to make gnocchi with Sorrentina sauce

Puttanesca Sauce: Tomatoes, Olives, Capers and Anchovies


Puttanesca Sauce

Spaghetti alla Puttanesca is a very popular dish of Italian cuisine. This sauce is prepared with tomatoes, anchovies, capers, black olives, chili pepper and parsley.
On the origins of the weird name of these spaghetti ("Puttanesca" translates roughly to "prostitute") there are several theories and legends that tell, most of which lead us back to the meeting houses where prostitues cooked this tasty and hot dish to attract the customers,.

The regions where spaghetti puttanesca are typically prepared are Lazio and Campania. Read how to make a quick and easy Puttanesca sauce.

Pasta alla Norma Recipe: Tomatoes, Eggplant and Aged Ricotta


Norma Sauce

Pasta alla Norma is one of the symbols of the Sicilian cuisine. This special recipe from Catania was invented as a culinary gift to the most beautiful work of the famous composer Vincenzo Bellini: Norma.
A tasty dish seasoned with tomatoes and a cascade of fried eggplants. But it would not be an authentic pasta alla Norma without the addition of fresh basil leaves and a generous handful of grated ricotta cheese added at the end of cooking: all the Mediterranean scents assembled in one dish!
Discover how to make a good pasta alla Norma

Images: Tomato Sauce, Marco Verch | Penne alla Puttanesca, Larry Hoffman | Bolognese Spaghetti, dbgg1979  | Pasta alla Norma and Bucatini all'AmatricianaJoy, all CC BY 2.0