I love cooking and eating homemade food, but sometimes I’m so busy, it’s really hard to carve out the time. I’m not big on processed foods, so I’ve added some recipes to my repertoire that are quick and easy. This, for me, often involves pasta (or sometimes spaghetti squash, which is my favorite pasta substitute and which freezes beautifully). But I’m not a huge fan of sauces out of jars. Now, I can make really elaborate pasta sauce from scratch that takes all day, but that doesn’t really help me if I’m hungry after at 6:30 in the evening, so I’ve developed a really easy pasta sauce recipe that takes only about 30 minutes.

All you need is some tomatoes (canned or fresh), a little bit of oil, garlic and/or onion, salt and pepper, and whatever spices you want to add. (You can use dried or fresh herbs. Since this is my go-to for when I’m in a hurry, I tend to use dried herbs, because I always have them in my pantry.) It involves minimal chopping and the amounts of the ingredients to use is really loose–you can adjust pretty much all of it to taste.

So here is Jen’s Easy Pasta Sauce Recipe for you. Try it and let me know what you think!

Ingredients for Easy Pasta Sauce

Ingredients

Ingredients

1 to 2 tablespoons of cooking oil (I prefer olive, but you can use whatever you like)
3 cloves of garlic, minced and/or one half of a yellow or white onion, diced
1 28 oz can of diced tomatoes or several fresh ripe tomatoes, diced (I often use canned unless tomatoes are in season)
Salt and pepper to taste
Dried Herbs to taste (I use basil, oregano, thyme, rosemary, sage, marjoram, and parsley)
Optional: To thicken the sauce, you can use 2 tablespoons of tomato paste (I do this if I have it on hand, but if I don’t the sauce turns out fine regardless.)

Onions and garlic for easy pasta sauce

Cooking the onions and garlic

Heat the oil on medium heat. Add the garlic and onion and a little bit of salt. Cook until they are limp and translucent, but not browned.

(At this point, if you want, you can add some ground beef or ground turkey and brown it for meat sauce. I usually don’t do this, simply because this is my go to for nights when I have nothing to cook, which usually means I don’t have meat on hand. But if you want to, brown some meat and drain the excess fat before proceeding to the next step. Another option is to saute some portobello mushrooms and then proceed.)

Pasta Sauce

Pasta Sauce. Looks yummy!

Dump in your tomatoes and dried herbs and salt and pepper. You can add red wine if you want to be fancy. I use a lot of herbs, because I like a lot of flavor. You can also add tomato paste at this point. Cook uncovered on low to medium heat for about a half-hour, until the sauce thickens. (Yes, it will splatter. That’s okay. That’s why stoves wipe up easily. Just, you know, don’t cook in your white work shirt maybe.)

Dinner is served.  Pasta sauce, sauteed veggies, and rotini

Yum!

Serve over pasta, meat, veggies, polenta, or whatever you want. If you want to be really fancy, you can stir in some hard cheese like Romano cheese. But shaking some of the Parmesan out of the green can over the top works just fine too. Tonight I served it over some sauteed mushrooms, zucchini, and yellow peppers and some rotini. This is one my favorite dinners for those busy nights when I just am too tired to do something elaborate.

What about you? What is your favorite easy dinner for a busy night? Let me know in the comments.

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