Napoletana Sauce

Napoletana Sauce Recipe

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Napoletana sauce, also known as Neapolitan sauce or Napoli sauce, is an Italian sauce that is traditionally used as a pasta sauce. This homemade sauce is quite delicious, and it stores well in the freezer so you don’t have to throw away any leftovers.

Napoletana Sauce

Difficulty:BeginnerPrep time: 10 minutesCook time:1 hour 15 minutesTotal time:1 hour 25 minutesServings:6 – 8 servings


  • Utensils


    When Using Fresh Tomatoes

  1. Half fill the saucepan with water and bring to the boil.
  2. Fill the steel bowl with the same amount of ice-cold water and some ice cubes.
  3. Remove “the eyes” from all the tomatoes and cut a cross in the base of the skin.
  4. Drop the tomatoes into the boiling water for about a minute, to loosen the skin. (You will have to do this in batches unless your pot is a very large one).
  5. Immediately transfer the tomatoes to the ice water to stop the cooking process.
  6. Remove all the skins and discard.
  7. Roughly chop the tomatoes, taking care to retain all of the juice
  8. When Using Canned Tomatoes

  9. Open the cans and drain off all of the juice in the colander that is set over the steel bowl. Do not break-up the tomatoes yet.
  10. Directions

  11. Once the tomatoes are prepared, warm the oil in the large saucepan and gently fry the garlic until golden.
  12. Add the tomatoes and stir to crush them. Bring to the boil and lower the heat until the mixture is barely simmering. Allow to simmer, stirring occasionally, until the oil comes to the surface, about 1 hour.
  13. When the correct consistency is reached, correct the seasoning. Remove the garlic cloves.
  14. Remove from the heat and stir in the basil chiffonnade. If using fresh tomatoes, you may want to add a pinch of sugar or a drop of honey to reduce the acidity.
  15. Serve hot with a pasta of your choice (spaghetti or linguine). You may also use lasagne, but it must then be processed until completely smooth.


  • Only use the best-quality fresh plum tomatoes, otherwise imported San Marzano-type canned ones.
  • Slow cooking is important for a concentrated flavor and good color.
  • The final product must be thick and heavy with little or no water retained.
  • Only add the basil at the end of the cooking process. Cooked basil will impart a bitter flavor to your sauce.
  • Adding onion is a moot point, but if you feel it necessary to include it, you may add a little. Just make sure it’s cooked out very slowly until it’s completely soft and without color. Ideally, it should disappear into the sauce during the process.

Recipe Adaptations

  1. Add chopped chilies to the garlic and a squeeze of lemon juice at the end for a spicy alternative.
  2. Adding 100ml each of chopped pitted olives and chopped flat-leaf parsley at the end gives an earthy sauce that can be enjoyed with dried noodles such as penne.
  3. Add 50ml each of caper and chopped anchovies for a robust profile that is suited to grilled poultry and line fish.

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