Pasta with tomato sauce – different versions

For Italians, pasta with tomato sauce is a staple food. Honestly I am not a fan of it, but I’ve learned to appreciate it and to make different versions to make it either better for me or to use up what I have at home. It’s much cheaper to buy a simple tomato puree and make your sauces yourself. I’m sure you can find a ton of fancy recipes out there, but I’m going to share quick and cheap versions.


Photo by Heather Ford on Unsplash

The Basic Tomato Sauce. My mother in law starts this with garlic and onion, but neither my kids or partner like it that way so we’re just going to skip it. Start by heating a sauce pan, add a little bit of oil, then add your puree. Add sugar, salt and pepper. Sugar is necessary to neutralize the acidity in the sauce, salt and pepper are for taste. You’re going to need to try it to see what’s the ratio that you prefer. Bring it to boil for a second and then let it cook on low heat for about 10 minutes. AND IT’S DONE! That’s it, you don’t need nothing else. Mix it in with your pasta, you can add cheese on top for extra taste. While your cooking your sauce don’t be afraid to experiment with spices, try adding sweet paprica, curry, fresh or dried basil, garlic or onion powder. And as I said in the beginning you could mince some garlic and/or cut onions to very small pieces and add in before the sauce. And beware of the tomato splashes, keep a lid on and use a sauce pan/wok or a smaller pot.

The Veggie Sauce. Here you can get as creative as you want. Heat the pan, add oil, cook your veggies, then add your puree and follow the instructions of the basic sauce. I mostly use bellpeppers for this and cut them into smaller pieces, I’ve also used just onion, I’ve used eggplant, carrots (cut them really small or grate with the bigger side). Mushrooms would work really well, I’m just not a fan of mushrooms in general so I don’t use them a lot. I often use a frozen chinese veggie mix too and that I usually serve with rice instead of pasta.

Photo from Pixabay by efirm

The Carnivore Sauce. I use either ground meat , wieners or boiled sausage (the doctor’s sausage). Same thing as with veggies: heat pan, add oil, add your meat (obviously raw meat is going to have to cook more than the sausages) and then the puree.

Other tips:

  • Add a little bit of water if you need to stretch your sauce. You can also put a little bit of water in the bottle/jar/box, give it a shake and you’ll get out the last of the puree.
  • If you like spicy food, add chilli powder or other spicy stuff.
  • This may sound weird, but I think it would taste pretty good – put in some pickles.

Other ways to use up your sauce:

  • On the pizza
  • Make some chilli
  • Cook meatballs or chicken drumsticks in it
  • Make an oven pasta dish, one layer of cream or besciamella and another one of tomato sauce
  • Use it in a soup
  • Make lasagne/parmigiana/cannelloni

I hope you found this little guide useful. Let me know how do you like to use your tomato sauce. Until next time!

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