pasta tomato sauce

Pasta Tomato Sauce Recipe. All Variations

Pasta Tomato Sauce

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!

Explore cuisine noodles

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.
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