Nonna’s Authentic Italian Tomato Sauce Recipe (Tucco)

whole clean tomato sauce

My Nonna's Authentic Italian Tomato Sauce Recipe

One whiff of this recipe and you will instantly be transported to a rustic Tuscan villa.  One taste and you will miraculously become fluent in Italian.  Well maybe not exactly fluent but you definitely will know how to say, Mamma Mia!  This authentic Italian sauce is simply slow food at its greatest.  Regarded as a family treasure, my nonna (grandmother) made sure she passed the recipe down to everyone in her family. The recipe that originated way back in my family’s lineage was perfected in my nonna’s cocina rustica in Cosenza.  This authentic and seemingly decadent sauce now dazzles friends and family alike here in my home in Carlsbad, California.  It is so simple and so delicious I just had to share the recipe with all of you in the Good Clean Health community.

You simply throw a few whole food ingredients in a stock pot and let it simmer.  I remember waking up Sunday mornings to the sound of chopping vegetables and the distinct smell of freshness.  My nonna would begin the "tucco" (tomato sauce) early in the morning.  The aroma of the simmering deliciousness would intensify throughout the day to a point where you could not take it any more.  I was always the first to hit a  breaking point and make a move to quickly dip some Italian bread in the simmering tucco.  These efforts were always thwarted by a swift tap of a wooden spoon.  But believe me the wait was well worth it.  My nonna’s Sunday pasta dinners were incredible.   This recipe has been passed down for generations.  My mom makes it, I make it, my sister makes it and even my 5 year old twins know how to make it!  The key to this rustica sauce is the depth of flavors.  Graciously giving a few simple, fresh ingredients time to simmer and fully marry is what creates the magic in this recipe.  I feel so grateful to have experienced not only the food but the creative and love-filled atmosphere that was inherent in each and every one of my nonna’s recipes.   Enjoy.

Slow and easy does it.

4.0 from 1 reviews
Nonna's Authentic Italian Tomato Sauce (Tucco)
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
An authentic, lick your fingers clean Italian Tomato Sauce from my Nonna
Recipe type: Main, Sauce
Serves: 6
  • 6 Tablespoons of Olive Oil
  • 4 oz salted pork chopped (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons of finely chopped green pepper
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves finely chopped
  • ¾ cup of red wine
  • 2 (28oz) cans of crushed tomato- I like to use Muir Glen
  • 1 (6oz) can of tomato paste
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • 2 Tablespoons of chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoon of salt or to taste
  • ½ tablespoons of pepper or to taste
  1. In a large heavy saucepan, add 6 tablespoons of olive oil and set burner to medium heat
  2. Then add the 3 remaining tablespoons of olive oil
  3. Next, add the salted pork (if using), onions and the green pepper and saute for 5 minutes or until onions are translucent
  4. Add the garlic and red wine and saute for 3 minutes
  5. Add the crushed tomato and tomato paste, basil, parsley salt and pepper
  6. Simmer for 2 hours add the eye round and simmer for 1 more hour

authentic italian pasta recipe

Nonna making her weekly pasta by hand.



2 Responses

  1. Daniel E Patino December 28, 2014

    Hello Andrea.

    My mother is from Napoli, Spain. She was a great Italian cook and I was raised in Uruguay. Since I am 21 I reside in US (Texas) but I visit San Diego often in business. Love the Italian quarters there near the Gaslamp district.

    Just wanted you to know that I miss the tucco sauce she was making to accompany Polenta and her loving meatballs I try to make it sometimes time permitting and refrigerate it to use it with my pasta for a quick lunch ot dinner. Is it possible to order or buy your Nonna sauce somewhere in Dallas, Texas or maybe you can ship it to me. Anyway you can help I will appreciate it.



  2. Mark Kus November 2, 2015

    Just reading your Nonna recipe and the last statement was to add the eye of round…..where did I miss that in the ingredients listing? How is it prepared and added?


Leave a comment

Rate this recipe: