My mother was the first person to teach me how to make a tomato based pasta sauce.
And my father showed me how to sneak in a spoonful of sugar to cut the acidity.
Mom taught me how to make an apple pie from scratch and dad fed me hard candy in church when no one was looking.
Suffice to say, I learned valuable lessons from both of my parents, and while I no longer attend mass on a regular basis, or any basis for that matter, I still make a mean pasta sauce.
In a perfect world filled with calorie less carbs, unicorns and oodles of free time, making sauce is an all day affair. It starts with tomatoes, includes paste, loads of garlic, bulbs of onions and bunches of herbs. It slow cooks and simmers for hours on end, filling the house with an enticing aroma, while I pop in periodically to nurture it.
I no longer live in that perfect world though. Carbs have calories, at least the kind I want to eat, and unicorns exist only in my dreams. Sometimes they sail by on a wave of buttered bagels, horns held up high.
These days, I reside in the land of the little people, and I’m not talking about the place Gulliver visited on his travels. Oh no, I’m referring to my eleven month old baby, who dominates my time and desires food fast and furious. Yes, I totally ripped off the title of a race car movie, but if you saw the way my daughter eats, you would understand. She makes Linda Blair from The Exorcist look tame. I wouldn’t be surprised if her head spun in circles. Babies are quite flexible.
In any event, I’ve had to speed up my cooking processes, without sacrificing flavor because I want to eat tasty vittles too. Thus this quick and easy pasta sauce was born. I saute onions, garlic, and fistfuls of dried herbs in a boatload of extra virgin olive oil before adding canned tomatoes and Parmesan cheese.
The result is a punch of pizzazz that will tickle and tantalize your taste buds, especially when you toss in some lentil meatballs. It’s savory, it’s satisfying and so simple to make, I’m sure both of my parents would approve. The tiny human, well she devoured hers, but I would expect nothing less from Ms. Blair.
- 4 Tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 small Onion, diced (approximately 3/4 of a cup)
- 3 large cloves Garlic, diced (approximately 1 1/2 Tbsp.)
- 1 tsp. dried Parsley
- 1 tsp. dried Oregano
- 1 tsp. dried Basil
- 1/2 tsp. dried Thyme
- 1/2 tsp. Garlic Powder
- 1/2 tsp. Onion Powder
- 1/4 tsp. Red Pepper flakes
- 1 28 oz can Diced Tomatoes with Basil
- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
- Sugar or Sweetener (like honey) to taste*
- Add olive oil to a large pan over medium high head. Add the diced onion, garlic and all the seasonings, from the parsley through to the red pepper flakes. Cook for a few minutes until onions just start to brown at the edges.
- Reduce heat to medium low, add canned tomatoes and simmer for fifteen minutes. Add Parmesan cheese and simmer another five minutes until the cheese is melted thoroughly.
- Taste and adjust seasonings accordingly.
- Serve with pasta and meatballs of choice.
- *I used no sugar or sweetener in this recipe. I find canned tomatoes to be sweet enough, although I often add a teaspoon or two of sugar if I'm using fresh tomatoes. Taste it and adjust accordingly.
How is it possible I can talk about The Fast and The Furious, Gulliver’s Travelers and The Exorcist all in a single paragraph? I’m sure Swift is turning over in his grave. What’s something you learned from your parents?