In summer tomatoes are in abundance so they are preserved uncooked in bottles or jars so they can be cooked in the winter. Tomatoes are the base for most Sicilian dishes. The following recipe is my mother’s version of fast food. The Napoli sauce is first cooked then placed into clean bottles sealed with a metal lid and boiled.






Skill level

Average: 2.7 (430 votes)


  • 5 kg tomatoes
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves
  • 1 bunch basil, chopped
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 chilli (optional)

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Makes 20 x  250 ml bottles 

Make a cross in the base of each tomato and blanch in boiling water. When they are cool the skin will peel away easily. Chop the flesh and put to one side.

In a large pot, heat some olive oil and fry the onion and garlic until brown. Add the tomatoes, basil, salt, pepper and the chilli (if you choose).

Add 1 litre of water and bring to the boil. Allow to simmer for 2½ hours, stirring occasionally.

Cook for a further 30 minutes with the lid off to reduce down. At this stage you should have a ready to eat sauce. Allow to cool a little, pour into clean bottles and seal.

Place the bottles in a large pot, cover with cold water and bring to the boil. When the water boils, turn off the heat and allow to cool in the water. The bottles will keep for years.