Thursday, August 22, 2013

Easy Peasy Tomato Basil Spaghetti Sauce

Does anything smell better than homemade spaghetti sauce simmering on the stove?  Many people swear by cooking their sauce all day to bring out the flavor, and I'm sure the results are always delicious.  But I certainly don't have the time for that everyday, so I'm always happy when I can find a way to cook with great flavor in a hurry!

Last night I made a super simple tomato and basil sauce for spaghetti that took 30 minutes, and even I was impressed by the flavor (I'm usually critical of my own cooking).  Even my 1 year old, who hasn't been feeling well this week, scarfed down his entire helping of spaghetti noodles with sauce.  I couldn't believe it when I looked over at his tray to find all of the noodles and sauce had disappeared.

Tomato sauce and ingredients
Cooking the sauce

Here's how I made the sauce:

Easy Peasy Tomato Basil Spaghetti Sauce (serves 4)

Ingredients
28 oz can diced tomatoes in juice (I bought organic store brand for only $1.99)
10 chopped fresh basil leaves (picked from my herb garden)
olive oil
dried Italian seasoning
red wine - optional (I use whatever wine I plan on drinking with dinner)
spaghetti noodles (I used 1/2 package of whole wheat noodles)

I poured the can of tomatoes with juice into a medium saucepan over med-low heat.  I added the chopped basil, about 1 tablespoon of olive oil, 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning, and a small splash of red wine (or a large splash if the kids aren't going to be eating the sauce).  I let the sauce simmer for around 30 minutes (to meld the flavors and cook off the alcohol from the wine) while I boiled and salted the water and cooked some whole wheat spaghetti noodles.  When the noodles were cooked and drained, I tossed the sauce with the noodles and let them cook together for 2 minutes to marry the flavors (the pasta package recommended doing this, and I think it was a great idea).  Everything was ready in 30 minutes, and the recipe made enough for 4 people (we served 2 adults, 2 children and had 1 serving of leftovers).

Tomato Basil Sauce with Whole Wheat Spaghetti
Tomato basil sauce with whole wheat spaghetti
topped with shaved Parmesan

While the noodles were cooking, I made simple salads and cut fruit for the kids.  The kids also had green peas on their plates.  I love this recipe because it's cheaper than buying organic pasta sauce and I control the ingredients that go into the sauce.  It's so fast and easy to use a can of tomatoes along with ingredients from the pantry, and you can customize it by adding more or less of any ingredient...or even add more ingredients like crushed red pepper, garlic, or anything else you like!