Monday, February 8, 2010

Easy Tomato-Basil Sauce

Pasta is supposed to be the so-called “college staple,” but sauces from the supermarket can be expensive.  Since I wasn’t blessed to have grown up in a deeply Italian family with a homegrown pasta sauce, I am now forced to find my own recipes and test them out.  This one seemed easy and cheap, so I decided to give it a try.  Here is a recipe for a simple Tomato-Basil Sauce, taken from The Healthy College Cookbook again, with a few tweaks courtesy of yours truly!

What you’ll need:
  • 1 28 – 32 oz. can of diced tomatoes in olive oil and garlic (they don’t have to be the oil/garlic kind, but trust me, it makes the sauce a lot better!)
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon dried basil (the original recipe calls for fresh basil, but dried is cheaper and easier to find)
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
What to do:

1) Saute garlic in olive oil over medium heat for about a minute.  Season with a pinch of salt and pepper.

Be sure not to burn the garlic – it can go from “lightly browned” to “burnt” quickly!

2) Add the tomatoes and simmer for about ten minutes, until the liquid has reduced some.  Stir occasionally.

3) Add the basil and stir well.  Season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder, if necessary, to taste.  Let simmer for a few more minutes.  Serve over pasta (or gluten-free pasta, to make it GF).

This sauce is a little chunky; if you want your sauce less chunky, take a potato masher or fork and mash down the tomatoes.

For next time…
  • Experiment with seasonings and the amount of each seasoning.  Since this dish is basic, almost anything will just add another dimension of flavor to the sauce
  • Get “petite” diced tomatoes to avoid so many chunks in the sauce

What kind of seasonings would you like to add to the sauce?  Do you have a pasta sauce that has been passed down in your family?


  1. This sounds good, everyone needs "their own" sauce. My roommate just tried a recipe last week where she took a large can of tomatoes, a half stick of butter, and a sliced in half onion, threw it all into a pot and let it simmer for 45 minutes. A.MA.ZING.

    With fresh pasta and bread from Arthur Ave. she fed ten hungry friends and it was great. I'll have to try your sauce next time we do this.

  2. My roommate does that all the time! While I love looking up new recipes and trying them out, she loves throwing things together on a whim and seeing what happens. She also can only cook HUMUNGOUS amounts of food at any given time. I think it's because she is from the South!