Intense Flavors: Red Wine Tomato Sauce Recipe

Calling all pasta enthusiasts – this rich and zesty red wine tomato sauce recipe is about to become your new best friend! Perfect for a cozy night in or a dinner party with friends, this sauce adds bold and flavorful depth to any pasta dish it graces.

With savory flavors like garlic, onions and sun-dried tomatoes balanced out by dry red wine and crushed red pepper, our sauce packs just the right amount of heat without being too overpowering. And if you’re a fan of cheesy goodness, finish off your pasta plate with some sprinkled pecorino romano cheese and fresh basil leaves.

But why stop at just pasta? This versatile sauce recipe can also be used as a base for pizza, topped with sautéed vegetables, or served on a charcuterie board with crackers and cheese. Trust me, once you try this rich and zesty red wine tomato sauce, you won’t want to use anything else as your go-to pasta sauce. So get your apron on and let’s get cooking!

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Rich and Zesty Red Wine Tomato Sauce
Rich and Zesty Red Wine Tomato Sauce

Are you looking for a rich and zesty sauce recipe to add some flavor to your pasta dishes? Look no further than this red wine tomato sauce recipe! This recipe is perfect for those who want to elevate their pasta game and impress their guests with mouth-watering flavors.

What sets this sauce apart is the addition of dry red wine, which adds depth and complexity to the dish. The unmistakable aroma of the wine infuses with the crushed tomatoes, onion and garlic, creating an irresistible scent that will make your taste buds dance. The result is a complex and bold taste that will take your pasta game to the next level.

The beauty of this recipe is that it’s versatile and can be paired with a variety of pasta dishes. Whether you prefer spaghetti, rigatoni, gnocchi or any other pasta, this sauce will complement it perfectly. It’s a go-to recipe that can be used for any weeknight dinner or special occasions.

All in all, if you’re looking for a delicious and easy-to-make red wine tomato sauce recipe that will make you fall in love with pasta all over again, give this one a shot. You won’t regret it.

Ingredient List

 Here's a tomato sauce with a taste of sophistication!
Here’s a tomato sauce with a taste of sophistication!

Here are the ingredients that you will need to make this rich and zesty red wine tomato sauce recipe:

  • Extra virgin olive oil: This ingredient adds richness and depth of flavor to the sauce.

  • Yellow onion: A great base for many sauces, the onions add a sweetness that helps balance out the acidity of the tomatoes.

  • Garlic cloves: Garlic adds flavor and aromatic complexity to the recipe.

  • Tomato paste: This ingredient provides an intense tomato flavor and thickens the sauce.

  • Whole tomatoes or diced tomatoes: You can use canned tomatoes of your choice, such as San Marzano tomatoes, for their naturally sweet taste.

  • Red wine: Use a good quality dry red wine to add depth and complexity to the sauce.

  • Sun-dried tomato: Sun-dried tomatoes add a rich, bold flavor that marries well with the tangy sweetness of the sauce.

  • Fresh basil leaves: The fragrant and aromatic basil is a crucial ingredient in this recipe.

  • Dried oregano: Oregano adds earthiness and depth of flavor.

  • Dried parsley: Adds a touch of herbaceous freshness.

  • Crushed red pepper flakes: For heat and spice.

  • Salt and pepper: Enhance flavors, so it’s important to season generously.


  • Pecorino romano cheese: If you want an extra cheesy flavor in your pasta dish.

With these ingredients, you will have everything you need to make a rich and flavorful sauce that can be used on your favorite pasta dishes.

The Recipe How-To

 The rich flavor of this red wine tomato sauce is perfect for a special dinner with friends.
The rich flavor of this red wine tomato sauce is perfect for a special dinner with friends.

After gathering all the sauce ingredients, it’s time to start cooking. In a large saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil over medium heat. Add 1 peeled and diced yellow onion and 4 minced garlic cloves. Sauté until soft and fragrant, about 5 minutes.

Add 1/4 cup of red wine to the pan and simmer for 5 minutes until the alcohol has evaporated, stirring occasionally.

Next, add in 2 cans of whole tomatoes with their juices and one can of diced tomatoes. Make sure to break apart the whole tomatoes with a wooden spoon or try using kitchen scissors to cut them into smaller pieces in the pan.

Add 3 tablespoons of tomato paste, 2 tablespoons of sun-dried tomato, 1 tablespoon of dried oregano, 1 tablespoon of dried parsley, and a pinch of crushed red pepper.

Mix well and let it come to a boil over medium heat before reducing the heat to low so that it simmers gently. Stirring occasionally, let it cook for at least an hour, preferably two hours or more if you have time.

Finally, just before serving, stir in some chopped fresh basil leaves and season with salt and black pepper to taste. Serve over pasta or use as a base for your favorite dishes such as pizza or lasagna.

Enjoy your homemade zesty red wine tomato sauce!

Substitutions and Variations

 Add some class to your pasta dish with this delicious red wine tomato sauce.
Add some class to your pasta dish with this delicious red wine tomato sauce.

One of the greatest things about this rich and zesty red wine tomato sauce recipe is that it can be adapted in so many ways to suit your preferences. Here are a few substitutions and variations you can try:

– Instead of using canned whole tomatoes, you can use diced tomatoes or even fresh tomatoes. Just make sure to remove the skin first by blanching them in boiling water for a few minutes.

– If you don’t have red wine on hand or prefer not to use it, you can substitute with white wine, vegetable stock, or even just water.

– For a more mellow flavor, you can use less garlic and onion or omit them entirely.

– To add some heat to your sauce, sprinkle in some crushed red pepper flakes or chop up a spicy pepper like jalapeño or serrano.

– If you’re looking for a creamier sauce, you can stir in some heavy cream or half-and-half at the end of cooking.

– For a heartier sauce that’s perfect for meat lovers, add ground beef or spicy Italian sausage along with diced peppers for an extra kick.

– Want a more sophisticated twist on the classic spaghetti pasta dish? Try adding some gnocchi or rigatoni pasta instead!

– If you don’t have dried parsley, dried oregano or fresh basil on hand, you can substitute with Italian seasoning to give your sauce that authentic Italian flavor.

Remember that these suggested substitutions are just guidelines and encourage you to experiment with different ingredients and flavor combinations. With enough creativity and intuition, you might even come up with your own signature version of this rich and zesty red wine tomato sauce!

Serving and Pairing

 A good bottle of red wine can make all the difference in your tomato sauce.
A good bottle of red wine can make all the difference in your tomato sauce.

This rich and zesty red wine tomato sauce recipe is perfect for any pasta dish. It’s a robust and savory sauce that will bring out the best in your pasta. The sauce can be served with spaghetti, rigatoni, gnocchi or any other kind of pasta you prefer.

The flavors of the wine, tomato paste, dried parsley and oregano come together to create a complex flavor profile that will tantalize your taste buds. This sauce also has some spice to it thanks to the addition of crushed red pepper, garlic and onions.

When it comes to pairing this sauce with different wines, I recommend using a dry red wine like a Chianti or Barbera. These wines have a great acidity and tannin structure which complement the richness of the sauce. A glass of white wine like Pinot Grigio would also pair well with this pasta dish if you prefer white over red.

If you’re feeling adventurous with your meal pairing, try serving this sauce with Italian sausage and peppers pasta. The spicy Italian sausage combined with the tangy tomato flavor of the sauce creates a delicious harmony. You can even add some Pecorino Romano cheese on top to elevate the flavors further.

Alternatively, serve this zesty red wine tomato sauce over a creamy bowl of gnocchi or meaty rigatoni for a more hearty meal. The rich tomato flavor in this sauce complements well with cream sauce too. Add some fresh basil leaves on top to finish off your pasta dish.

No matter what pairing you choose, this rich and zesty red wine tomato sauce is sure to be a crowd-pleaser at any mealtime!

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

 This zesty tomato sauce is made with a French twist.
This zesty tomato sauce is made with a French twist.

This rich and zesty red wine tomato sauce recipe can be made ahead of time and stored for later use. The sauce can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to five days or frozen for up to three months.

To make-ahead, simply cook the sauce according to the instructions and let it cool completely. Transfer it to an airtight container and refrigerate or freeze.

When it’s time to reheat, thaw the frozen sauce in the refrigerator overnight before reheating. Place the sauce in a saucepan over medium heat and stir occasionally until heated through. If the sauce has thickened too much, add a little bit of water or broth to loosen it up.

Alternatively, you can reheat the sauce in the microwave by placing it in a microwave-safe dish and heating on high in 30-second intervals until heated through.

Whether you’re making this savory sauce ahead of time for a special occasion or simply storing leftovers, it will maintain its rich flavor and zesty kick when properly reheated. Enjoy this versatile red wine tomato sauce with your favorite pasta dishes, as a dipping sauce, or even as a topping for pizza.

Tips for Perfect Results

 Made with fresh tomatoes and red wine, this sauce will warm your heart on a cool evening.
Made with fresh tomatoes and red wine, this sauce will warm your heart on a cool evening.

One secret to the perfect red wine tomato sauce is in the ingredients. Using high-quality extra virgin olive oil and crushed San Marzano tomatoes will make a significant difference. The addition of dry red wine and sun-dried tomatoes gives the sauce an irresistible rich and zesty flavor profile. Here are some more tips to help you achieve the best possible results.

First, make sure to start with a clean pan. Any leftover residue on the surface could affect the taste of your sauce. Next, allow the onions and garlic to cook slowly over low heat until they are perfectly caramelized. This will add depth and complexity to your sauce.

When adding salt to the sauce, it is best to start with a small amount and then adjust as needed. Remember that some ingredients, like canned tomatoes, may already contain added salt.

If you like your red wine tomato sauce spicy, you can add a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes along with the other seasonings. For a creamier texture, you can add a splash of heavy cream or half-and-half towards the end of cooking.

When simmering your wine tomato sauce, make sure it doesn’t become too thick or too watery. To keep it at its right consistency, stir it occasionally, particularly as it simmers down.

Finally, don’t forget to taste-test your sauce as it cooks! Adjust and modify as per personal preference. With these tips in mind, you are just a few ingredients away from creating the best marinara sauce for your pasta dish!


As a sommelier, I understand that trying new recipes can often lead to unexpected questions. To help avoid any confusion or mishaps, I have compiled a list of frequently asked questions that I believe will be helpful as you prepare this rich and zesty red wine tomato sauce recipe. Let’s take a look at some of the most commonly asked questions about this delicious pasta sauce and how to perfect it in your kitchen.

What does adding red wine to tomato sauce do?

When using wine in a sauce, the alcohol can enhance its flavor by inducing the release of flavor molecules in the ingredients. This increase in flavor can be especially pronounced in red wine sauces, as the alcohol works to dissolve fats and unlock more complex flavors. As a sommelier, I recommend using red wine in your sauces to bring out the best taste in your dishes.

What can I add to tomato sauce to make it richer?

Incorporating a small amount of butter can drastically enhance the taste and texture of your next sauce. This surprising addition has the ability to create a velvety, indulgent and gratifying sensation, transcending its ordinary form. For instance, renowned chef Marcella Hazan uses half a stick of butter in her renowned tomato sauce recipe, which adds an extra layer of complexity to the sauce.

What is the best red wine for making tomato sauce?

When it comes to pairing wine with dishes that have a tomato-based sauce, it’s essential to choose a wine that can complement the acidity and bold flavors of the sauce. As a sommelier, I would recommend going for a medium-bodied red wine as it won’t be overwhelmed by the sauce’s acidity. Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel are two types of red wine that would be an excellent match for pasta dishes with tomato sauce.

How to make tomato sauce more flavorful?

One of my go-to flavor boosters in the kitchen is the combination of sautéed onions and garlic. By skillfully cooking finely chopped onions and garlic in olive oil until they become fragrant and golden, their sweet aroma and flavor are brought out. Once these ingredients are cooked to perfection, simply adding them to a sauce and letting everything simmer helps blend the flavors together for an even more delicious taste.

Bottom Line

This rich and zesty red wine tomato sauce recipe is truly one of a kind, and I know that once you try it, it will become a household favorite. It’s comforting, packed with flavors, and versatile enough to pair with a variety of pasta dishes.

Whether you’re getting your hands dirty making meat sauce for your hearty rigatoni, mixing up a delicious cream sauce for your smooth gnocchi, or keeping things simple with spaghetti pasta, this sauce pairs perfectly with all of them. The addition of dry red wine elevates the flavors to a whole new level that is not only delicious but also good for you.

So what are you waiting for? Give this recipe a try today and see how it can transform your pasta dish into a masterful creation. You won’t regret it!

Rich and Zesty Red Wine Tomato Sauce

Rich and Zesty Red Wine Tomato Sauce Recipe

Here is a recipe for a basic tomato sauce made with red wine- great for cheese-filled pastas and relatively easy to make. My fiance also believe this recipe could be prepped in a crockpot and left to sit all day, but I haven't tried that. See the Directions for an alternative spicier version. Enjoy!
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Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 1 hr
Course Sauce
Cuisine Italian
Calories 263.9 kcal


  • 2 (28 ounce) cans whole tomatoes (can be pre-seasoned if you like)
  • 2 (6 ounce) cans tomato paste
  • 6 -8 whole garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
  • 1 large yellow onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup sun-dried tomato, chopped
  • 2 -3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 -4 sprigs fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
  • 1 -2 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 -2 tablespoon dried parsley
  • 1 -2 tablespoon dried Italian seasoning
  • salt, to taste
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated pecorino romano cheese
  • 1 (750 ml) bottle merlot


  • In a large pot, sweat the chopped onions and garlic in the olive oil over med-low heat.
  • Add the peeled tomatoes, crushing them with your hands one by one into smaller chunks. Be careful- they squirt all over the place! Make sure to pour in all the liquid in the cans as well. Add all ingredients except salt, cheese, and wine.
  • Stir all ingredients together. Cover, and increase heat to med-high. Simmer/cook 30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally so that the sauce doesn't burn on the bottom.
  • Add about 1/3 of the bottle of merlot. Add the cheese. Stir, reduce heat slightly and let that cook uncovered for another 15-20 min, stirring occasionally.
  • Taste and determine if you need salt, and add to taste. For salt with a little tang, add some more cheese, if you have it. Let simmer another 15 minutes uncovered, stirring occasionally.
  • During the last simmering stage, cook your pasta.
  • Serve over pasta (1 ladleful is gracious plenty). Extra sauce can frozen for up to a month. To reheat, let simmer on low uncovered, stirring frequently so the sugar in the merlot doesn't burn.
  • *Spicy alternative: For a spicier sauce, use shiraz in place of merlot and add 2 tsp of dried red pepper flakes.

Add Your Own Notes


Serving: 376gCalories: 263.9kcalCarbohydrates: 30.3gProtein: 5.9gFat: 5.5gSaturated Fat: 0.8gSodium: 520.2mgFiber: 7gSugar: 17.2g
Keyword < 4 Hours, European, Sauces, Vegetable
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