Monday 17 September 2012

Pasta Sauce

I've thrown tinned tomatoes at pasta many a time, adding some kind of herbs/garlic/wine combo to try and make it interesting, but it's always disappointing.

Recently I bought a jar of pasta sauce and it was good. Really good. The little guy gobbled it down and I enjoyed it too. But for a long time I have wanted to try and nail a good homemade version, and last week I finally did. Well, I made a good homemade version, but I'm not sure if I quite nailed it... I would have liked a bit more depth and richness to the flavour, it was a little light and tangy. But it's a good place to start, nothing beats cooking something off like this to bring stronger flavour. You can play around with this recipe as much as you like - barely anything in it is essential.

I read a few recipes and put together some different ideas, starting with one I found on the Taste website. All recipes suggested fresh basil but we're in the wrong season for basil in my garden, so I used dried oregano and fresh parsley. I chose to add a teaspoon of sugar towards the end of cooking as the sauce was very tangy. The sugar added a little depth and softened it a bit, though not as much as I wanted. I almost wondered if it needs a little stock added - call me crazy, but I did come across the idea of adding a mirepoix which is a vegetable base for many stocks and sauces. I may not go this far next time, but I would probably add more tomato paste, and go out of my way to get some really good tinned tomatoes. For now though, feel free to just grab what you have in your pantry. If you have any thoughts on improving this recipe, I would love to hear them.

I wanted a smooth texture, so blitzed it in the blender after cooking.

Pasta Sauce

1 tablespoon oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 onion
1 clove garlic
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 x 400g tins whole plum tomatoes
Splash of wine (red is ideal, white is fine)
1 teaspoon sugar
Salt and pepper

Simmer chopped onion and garlic in the oil and butter until softened but not brown.
Add the tomato paste and stir for one minute, then add the tomatoes and wine and simmer for 30 minutes.
Add sugar, salt and pepper and herbs to taste.

PS - an easy meal idea is to chop up some mushroom, capsicum and really fine bits of broccoli and add it to the sauce. You may even want to do this before you freeze it. A great way to get more veg in to kids, if you find that a challenge. I had some of this leftover recently and put it in an omelette for lunch. Yummo!


  1. Yum. Nothing better than a good homemade pasta sauce. I make a whole lot at once and put it in sterilized jars for later use. Makes meals so quick and easy when you can whip out a delicious homemade jar from the shelf. I saute some carrot and celery with the onion and garlic and let it cook down well. Adds a bit of depth I think but it does need blitzing at the end if you want a nice smooth sauce. I just add canned tomatoes during winter but freshly picked tomatoes, during the summer months, YUM! I so enjoy this blog Angela! Hannah V

  2. Oh great, that sounds like all the motivation I need to add a little more flavour. Sounds easy too when you put it like that. Glad you are enjoying tCS.

  3. It looks great Angela. I agree with Hannah on the cooking it down well front. I've not tried carrot or celery in mine but I would recommend a little more sugar and salt to bring out the flavours. The type of tinned tomatoes also seems to make a big difference. The one we buy has a black label and red tomatoes on it. Blowed if I can tell you what the brand is though.


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