Easy Flavorful Pasta Sauce
Updated: Mar 21
Let's get real for a second... jarred pasta sauce is canceled. It's time to learn how to make your own pasta sauce from scratch.
Okay maybe not from scratch since we're not starting with fresh tomatoes... but by using a can of crushed tomatoes and rich aromatics, we can make a delicious pasta sauce that's quick, easy, and nonna approved!
You can use it for tons of pasta dishes, stews, pizza, and more!
Plus it holds up well in the freezer if you have any extra left over for meals in the future.
I'm not going to lie to you, I have used jarred pasta sauce a few times in the past (cue my Italian ancestors rolling in their graves). It works in a pinch or if you're feeling lazy, but trust me making it yourself is well worth the effort. It comes together is less than 30 minutes!
By building a base of rich flavors with onion, garlic, and lots of herbs you're left with a deep umami sauce that will make the simplest dishes taste gourmet.
Here's What You'll Need:
Crushed Tomatoes: I prefer to use mostly crushed tomatoes as the base of my sauces as it's a little less thick than canned tomato sauce. It has a much better texture and mouthfeel in the end.
Aromatics: We're deepening the already rich tomato flavors by sautéing our aromatics first before adding in the crushed tomatoes. For a basic (but super tasty) sauce like this we're adding onion, garlic, and lots of dried herbs like parsley, basil, and oregano!
Sugar and Baking Soda: There seems to be such a huge debate on whether or not sugar goes in pasta sauce. I'm here to tell you that is does (sorry haters). Now I'm not saying add a whole heaping spoonful of sugar into your sauce, that's a no go. Instead we're adding a pinch or two, plus a pinch of baking soda to neutralize the acidity of the tomatoes and tinny taste from the cans. Just the tiniest bit of both bring balance to the sauce and makes it taste a lot less like it's from a can.
Here's How to Put it All Together:
1. Sauté the onions and garlic until golden and fragrant.
2. Toast the herbs and spices to deepen the flavors.
3. Simmer the base in a little red wine before adding the crushed tomatoes.
4. Let the sauce simmer on low for 20 minutes to let all the flavors mingle and voilà!
Easy Flavorful Pasta Sauce:
about 4-5 cups | 30 minutes
* 1 medium yellow onion, diced
* 5 cloves of garlic, minced
* 1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
* 1 15 oz. can tomato sauce
* 1/4 c. red wine
* 1 tbsp olive oil
* 2 tsp dried parsley
* 1 tsp dried basil
* 1 tsp dried oregano
* 1 tsp garlic powder
* 1 tsp onion powder
* 2 bay leaves
* 1/2 tsp black pepper
* 1/2 tsp salt
* 1/4 tsp sugar
* 1/8 tsp or a pinch of baking soda
1. Heat the tablespoon of olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Sauté the onion until it starts to become translucent. Add in the garlic and sauté another minute or two until both are golden and fragrant.
2. Toss in the dried herbs, salt, and pepper. Toast everything for about a minute until your kitchen starts to smell divine. If you notice things browning too quickly, just lower the heat down a bit.
3. Add in the red wine to loosen up anything sticking to the bottom. Let it simmer for a minute to burn off the alcohol before adding in both cans of tomatoes.
4. Once the tomatoes are in, give it a good stir several times so everything is well mixed. Add in the sugar and baking soda and give it another good stir.
5. Before you pop the lid on, add the bay leaves. (Sometimes if it feels right, I'll enchant them to bring a little dose of protection and blessings to my family!)
6. Let it simmer covered on a medium-low heat for about 20 minutes so that all the flavors can mingle and come together!
7. After 20 minutes, turn the heat off and taste for seasoning. Add any more salt/pepper if you see fit.
I chose to use this batch of sauce for some pasta and vegan meatballs!! Served with some nice crusty bread on the side, obviously.