Recipe: Tomato Cream Sauce for Pasta

Many novice cooks are a little scared of sauces. But they shouldn’t be, because they are easy. And you can make a restaurant-style sauce because it’s easy.

Take, for example, pasta sauces. Some people seem to think they can’t do better than the stuff that comes in a jar. They think these sauces would take hours to simmer at home if made from scratch. They may think, from the advertisements, that all those sauces on the shelf are made with the same stuff you would use at home. That’s certainly not true.

This creamy tomato pink sauce is 20 minutes and really delicious.

Here’s what you need: A small saucepan, about 1 to 2 quarts. From the pantry: olive oil, a can of diced tomatoes, and sugar. From the fridge: butter and heavy cream. From the spice cabinet: dried basil, dried oregano, black pepper, and salt. If your pantry doesn’t contain a medium onion and a few cloves of garlic, you’ll have to pick some up at the store.

Preparations: Peel and dice the onion. Mince the garlic. Heat your saucepan over medium heat. Add two tablespoons of olive oil, then the onion and garlic. Because garlic can turn bitter if it’s overcooked, stir frequently. Then add the tomatoes with their juices, a tablespoon of dried basil, 3/4 teaspoon sugar, a quarter teaspoon each of dried oregano, salt, and ground pepper.

If you’re worried about the sugar and tempted to omit it or use a substitute, please don’t. The amount of sugar is small and it will do a lot to bring out the flavor of the tomatoes. The sugar will dissolve in the sauce. Substitutes might change the texture of the sauce and clash with the tomatoes.

Bring the sauce to a boil and continue cooking until most of the liquid is gone, about 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in half a cup of heavy cream or whipping cream and a tablespoon of butter. These ingredients make the sauce rich and velvety. Used correctly, with pasta and a protein and some vegetables,  the fat is spread thin. Reduce the heat and simmer for another five minutes.

Then you are ready to serve. It’s great for all kinds of food.