This quick Homemade Pasta Sauce is rich, deliciously seasoned, and yet still easy enough to make any night of the week. This delicious sauce is low carb, gluten-free, MSG-free, and perfect with your favorite pasta, “zoodles”, and even homemade pizza.
I believe the secret to this quick and easy Homemade Pasta Sauce starts with the tomatoes.
I start with a can of whole tomatoes and a dash of tomato paste for its rich tomato-y flavor. My local grocery store sells San Marzano tomatoes and I highly recommend this brand. If you can’t find them, buy the best variety of canned tomatoes you can find that fits your budget. The flavor difference is SO worth it in this sauce – where the flavors of the tomatoes are King.
If you garden like we do, you may have preserved your own whole steam peeled tomatoes which are to die for in this sauce, but when fresh-canned tomatoes are not an option, San Marzano tomatoes are the next best thing for us.
Another must have for this sauce are the fresh herbs. They create a more flavorful, fresh sauce, however, a combination of fresh and dry or completely dry will work as well. This sauce is absolutely killer over the summer when my herb and vegetables gardens are in full bloom. Mmmmm. Fresh herbs picked from the garden just before entering the sauce. Yummy!
PRO TIP: If you grow an herb garden, many herbs can be harvested throughout the growing season, such as parsley, basil, and oregano (perfect for pasta sauce).
Pick fresh herbs first thing in the morning after the plants have rejuvenated overnight and have had time to replenish the essential oils lost from the hot summer sun.
For each herb harvested, snip herbs from several plants rather than harvesting off a single plant to keep the plant from going into shock.
Another thing to keep in mind is that you need to cut off the flowering tops as soon as you see them. This will keep your herbs from pre-maturely going to seed.
Cutting the flowering tops off will not hurt your herb plants and will help keep your kitchen stocked with yummy herbs all summer and beyond – if you choose to dry the end of summer herb haul.
If you prefer to use dry herbs, add the herbs to the pan while you’re sautéing the onions and garlic in the saucepan so the flavors can really develop.
- PRO TIP: Before adding the herbs to the saucepan, crush the dried leaves between your fingers. This helps release volatile oils and increases the herb’s fragrance and flavor. This aroma will transfer to your sauce.
Long cooking times can diminish the herb’s intensity. In this case, I add some at the beginning of cooking time and then I taste and re-season again at the end, adding more herbs if necessary to suit my tastes.
The secret ingredient here is the tomato paste. It adds a major flavor boost and helps thicken the sauce all the while adding to the overall tomato flavor.
My second flavor boost here is the sweet red wine. Oh, it makes this sauce unbelievable!
Lastly, don’t be afraid of the anchovy paste! It doesn’t make the sauce taste “fishy” at all, it’s a salty background flavor note. If you do omit the anchovy paste, remember that you may need to increase the salt to make up the difference in flavor.
Homemade Pasta Sauce
- 2 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 small Yellow Onion , Finely chopped
- 2 scallions or green onions (white & green part) chopped fine
- 2 tsp anchovy paste [See Note 1]
- 4 garlic cloves , minced
- 1/4 cup Sweet Red Wine
- 1 can (28 oz.) whole tomatoes in juice
- 1 teaspoon Dried Oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon Hot , Crushed, Red Pepper Flakes
- 1/4 teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
- Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat.
- Add the onion, and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the scallions, anchovies (if using), garlic, and cook. Stir occasionally until garlic is fragrant for about 1 minute.
- Add the wine. Pour the tomatoes and their juices into a bowl. Crush the tomatoes between your fingers, and pour the mixture into the saucepan. Add the oregano, hot pepper flakes, and pepper and bring to a simmer.
- Reduce the heat to med.-low. Simmer, stirring often, until the tomato juices have thickened and the sauce has reduced slightly, about 30 minutes.
- The sauce can be cooled, covered, and refrigerated for up to 3 days. Or freeze for up to 2 months and thaw overnight in the refrigerator before using.
- Don't be afraid of the anchovy paste! It doesn't make the sauce taste "fishy" at all - it simply lends a salty, yet rich, background flavor note. If you chose to omit the anchovy paste, remember that you may need to increase the salt in the recipe to make up for the salt lost in the paste.
Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy, and is sourced from the USDA Food Database.