Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Tuesday Night Pasta Sauce

There are only a few things in life I take a firm stance on, but jarred pasta sauce is one of them. I see absolutely no reason why anyone should eat this overly-preserved "sauce," even if you're pressed for time. A quick and flavorful homemade pasta sauce takes only a few ingredients, but results in a sauce a million times better (and healthier!) than the jarred stuff.

Tuesday Night Pasta Sauce

1 28oz can of whole tomatoes
1 tbs oil
4 cloves of garlic (or more if you're feeling garlicky)
1/2 white onion
1 shallot
A splash of white wine (optional)
Salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, and Italian seasoning to taste
Shrimp (optional)
Fresh basil (optional but recommended)

Chop the onion and shallot. Dice the garlic how you please -- I like to do mine in thin slices because I like the heartiness, but if you don't want your garlic to have as much texture, feel free to mince it.

Next, grab the tomatoes. Use your thumb to pierce each tomato before removing it from the can to allow juices to flow out. If you don't do this, you'll have a pool of tomato juice on your cutting board that will end up running everywhere. Rough-chop each tomato individually. Leave the remaining juice in the can.

Put your oil in a nonstick pan (not a stockpot) and bring to medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot enough to sizzle, add the garlic, onion, and shallot. Sautee, constantly moving, until the onions soften but not so long that the garlic browns.

Next, add the chopped tomatoes, and approximately 1/4 cup of juice from the can. If you have white wine handy, add a splash for another note of flavor. Bring the sauce to a simmer.

Now add your seasonings. I prefer a simple combination of salt, pepper, a dash of red pepper flakes, and a hefty dose of Italian seasoning, but feel free to add what you have on hand. Just make sure you include some form of salt and some form of herb. Mix it all into the sauce and let simmer for about 3-5 minutes.

Here's the last trick: when the noodles are just about ready to come off the heat, take a small ladle and remove some of the starchy boiling water and add it directly to the sauce. This starchy water will add a silkiness to your sauce that you won't get with just plain water. Mix it in with the sauce and let simmer.

At this point, you can throw this sauce on top of your pasta and be done with your super-quick, super-flavorful fresh tomato sauce. For me, I decided to add a couple shrimp to the sauce to give it more of a "meal" feel. I quickly thawed some frozen shrimp from Costco (always on hand and super quick to thaw in water), and put them right in the sauce just before we were ready to eat.

Shrimp pasta 1

Since they only take about 2 minutes to cook, I knew I didn't want to throw them in until the very end. If you have fresh basil on hand, chop it up and toss it in at the same time as the shrimp. This will lightly wilt the basil without it being in the heat so long that it fully cooks.

Serve the sauce over the pasta, and enjoy your delicious, fresh dinner! Beginning to end, including prep, this fresh sauce will take less than 30 minutes, easily accomplished on a busy weeknight. So for only a couple more minutes than jarred sauce, you can make a fresh sauce that tastes ten times better!

Shrimp pasta 2


  1. Yum! Looks like a great recipe! LOVE fresh basil!

    I'm making some of my homemade sauce tonight for tomorrow's dinner. But I'm not a fan of chunky tomatoes so I use sauce and lots of other yummy ingredients and let it simmer for 6 hours. SO good!

  2. I shouldn't have read this when I was so hungry, haha :) Thanks for sharing this - looks easy enough and delicious!

  3. We love quick recipes with seasonal ingredients. Thanks so much for sharing on Momtrends and have a great 4th!