Pasta Tomato Sauce
There’s nothing more delicious than homemade. Homemade pasta tomato sauce is much easier than you think, and much superior to its commercial counterpart.
And so versatile: whatever you might like to throw in will make it only more exciting. It is guaranteed to leave all (repeat: all) its store-bought pasta tomato sauce counterparts in the dust. So go for it and try all my suggestions! In pasta tomato sauce dishes, it’s OK to use tubular hollow-shaped pasta and let the sauce go into the holes, which wouldn’t do for rich cream-based sauces (for these we need to use flat pasta) or pesto
Pasta Tomato Sauce Variations
To my basic pasta tomato sauce recipe, I have included several variations. But basically, once you have a wonderful basic sauce, you can take it in a dozen directions. One of my favorite is Puttanesca. It packs a great flavor punch, even if you decide to make it with no cheese . That’s the way my mother made it: no cheese, all olives, capers, anchovies and other umami deliciousness. Or even meat variation, like bolognese. In this case no anchovies in the basic sauce.
It freezes beautifully
Go ahead and make a big batch. Eat some and freeze some. Starting with the basic sauce, throw in any other goodie you might have on hand
Good Quality Pasta is Everything!
I used to think about pasta dinners as a sinful splurge, some kind of empty calories carb orgy. So understandably it used to be a very rare guilty treat. Regular wheat pasta as we know it has negligible nutritional value, just loads of empty calorie carbs.
But since I have discovered this brand pasta, I happily eat it and serve it more often, yes, even to kids! Packed with great flavor, high protein, high fiber. And I mean VERY high protein, and VERY high fiber! What’s not to love? And did I mention it’s gluten-free, for the benefit of our gluten-watching friends?
Pasta Sauce in a Jiffy!
Having made my impassioned case for homemade pasta sauce, I still want to answer the question, what do we do when we are really short on time? Start with a good quality bottled marinara sauce, and throw in some of the additions suggested below. There’s nothing a handful of capers, olives or basil leaves wouldn’t brighten up!
- 1 pound penne, or other tubular pasta, gluten-free OK
- ½ cup olive oil
- 1 large onion, quartered
- 6 large cloves garlic
- 2 ribs celery, peeled and cut in big chunks
- 1 bunch flat parsley
- 1 large carrot, grated
- 4 cups canned crushed tomatoes
- Good pinch red pepper flakes
- 2 tablespoons oregano
- Salt to taste
- Freshly ground pepper to taste
Bring water to boil with a little salt and oil in a large pot, preferably equipped with a strainer insert. Add the pasta and cook accordingly to manufacturer’s instructions. Take out the pasta, letting it drain, and reserve ½ cup of the cooking liquid.
Heat the oil in a large skillet. Coarsely grind the onion and garlic in a food processor and add to the oil. Sauté until translucent. Coarsely grind the celery and parsley and add to the skillet, and sauté 1 to 2 minutes longer. Add all the remaining sauce ingredients, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium, cover and cook 30 minutes.
Transfer the pasta to a platter. Toss with the sauce, the reserved cooking liquid and freshly ground pepper. Serve hot. Makes 8 servings.
Pasta Tomato Sauce Variations: short and sweet selection please!
- Throw in some grated Parmesan (watch the added salt).
- Sauté some sliced mushrooms with the onion, garlic, etc.
- Sauté some spinach or Swiss chard leaves or grated zucchini with the onion, garlic, etc.
- Add some pitted oil-cured olives, capers, anchovies. Thats’s my Puttanesca sauce!
- Add some dry white wine.
- Add some sliced basil leaves.
- Add some sun-dried tomatoes (watch the added salt).
- Roast 2 to 3 garlic heads and mash the pulp into the sauce.
- Add some sliced roasted red peppers, good-brand bottled OK.
- Throw in some rinsed canned anchovies or dashi powder, but don’t add any salt to the sauce.
- Go Tex-Mex and throw in some chopped cilantro, jalapeño, cumin, etc.