A 15-minute Pasta Red Sauce that will change your life!

by Michelle on January 23, 2011

Mr. Tastebuds watches “America’s Test Kitchen” every single Saturday and I joined him for a minute while I finished my coffee. But my interest was piqued when I heard the phrase, “To create a complex, brightly flavored sauce, one that tastes first and foremost of tomatoes, in the time it takes to boil pasta”. I quickly got a pencil and paper and jotted down some notes and the recipe!

First of all they discussed canned tomatoes and stressed the ingredient list. Now I know it’s important to read ingredient lists but even if I do, I really don’t know what I’m reading.  Do you?

But they said it was crucial that TOMATO was the first ingredient listed. If TOMATO PUREE or TOMATO JUICE is the very first ingredient, the contents has been heated to a higher temperature for processing and consequently more fresh tomato taste is lost. Less heat equals more lipoxygenase, an enzyme that oxidizes two of the pigments found in ripe tomatoes, lycopene and beta-carotene, creating new aromatic compounds that make the canned tomatoes literally taste fresh.. If you are saying to yourself, “I didn’t know that“, you are not alone!

I quickly checked my Marconi Canned Tomatoes and sure enough TOMATOES, is the first ingredient! Although I’ve tried other brands, I’ve always thought Marconi was the best of the varieties at my market. However, ATK, did recommend, Muir Glen Organic Crushed Tomatoes and Tuttorosso Crusted Tomatoes, but I can’t find either of these brands in my area, so I’m sticking with Marconi for the time being.

They also discussed using butter instead of Olive Oil to sauté the onions and garlic. Okay, I’ve not used butter in my tomato pasta sauce for years, but I sure am from now on! Apparently olive oil enhances the taste of the preservative citric acid and you need the sweetness of the butter along with yellow onion to create a nice balance between acid and sweet. 

Also grating onion releases fructose, which sweetens the onions. Hmmmm….another I didn’t know that moment!

I have to say, it was difficult for me to follow a recipe exactly but I was determined and the sauce turned out absolutely delicious!  In fact when the sauce was simmering, Mr. Tastebuds asked me what I was making because it smelled so good and you know what, IT DID!  However, I can’t, and I repeat I can’t make a pasta sauce without adding freshly minced parsley at the last minute and this recipe was no different!

Simple Red Sauce with Canned Tomatoes
Recipe adapted from America’s Test Kitchen

1-28 oz can crushed tomatoes (make sure Tomatoes is #1 on the ingredient list)
2 TBL butter
1/4 c sweet yellow onion, grated
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp dried oregano
2 TBL fresh basil, minced
1 TBL Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

My addition: Handful of fresh parsley, minced

1. In a heavy bottomed skillet, melt butter.
2. Add onion and sauté until just golden brown and lightly caramelized.
3. Add the minced garlic and sauté for about 2 minutes.
4. Add the can of crushed tomatoes, salt, sugar, oregano and blend. Turn down heat and simmer for 10 minutes until thickened.
5. Add fresh basil and blend well.
6. Right before serving add olive oil and parsley. 
7. Add salt and pepper to taste.
8. Toss about 1/2 the sauce with the pasta.
9. Divide up the pasta per plate, top with remaining sauce and ENJOY!

Related Posts with Thumbnails
Print Friendly

Comments

  • Jenny January 23, 2011 at 5:38 pm

    Sounds yummy! Can’t wait to try it.

  • Shelby January 23, 2011 at 5:51 pm

    Well, you learn something new all the time! I didn’t know that olive oil enhanced the taste of citric acid! It will be butter for me from now on too! I definitely will have to try this – and now I’ll be checking the back of the Hunts Fire Roasted Tomatoes I just bought to see what the first ingredient is! Great post and love your photos!

  • Kayte January 23, 2011 at 5:52 pm

    Looks good, I will have to try this…I am a big fan of cooking the tomatoes a la Hazan style, where there is no water left in them and it is beautifully thick and reduced. I will try this one to see how it compares, the 15 minutes sure sounds good on a busy night.

  • margaret January 23, 2011 at 6:00 pm

    Saw this episode. Wanted to try the sauce cause it looked sooo good. Glad to know it was good. Thanks.

  • […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Michelle Safirstein, Michelle Safirstein. Michelle Safirstein said: A 15-minute Pasta Red Sauce that will change your life! Who knew?!?! So delicious! http://tinyurl.com/637v2al […]

  • Joni January 23, 2011 at 6:23 pm

    Can’t wait to try this, I can my own tomatoes, so I know tomatoes are the top ingredient in mine! 😉

    Thanks for jotting it down and trying it out to share with all of us! How sweet!
    XOXO
    Joni

  • catherine January 23, 2011 at 7:23 pm

    Looks very delicious and very easy….I am sure that is was…beautiful pictures.

  • rebecca January 23, 2011 at 7:31 pm

    wow awesome post learnt so much

  • Sumner Brooks, MPH, RD, CSSD January 23, 2011 at 7:34 pm

    great tip!! Will try this. Thanks for spreading taste to the rest of us!

  • Nisrine|Dinners and Dreams January 23, 2011 at 7:45 pm

    It looks delicious for something that’s ready in 15 min. I, too, use crushed tomatoes when making sauce. Thanks for sharing!

  • Sandi Graham January 23, 2011 at 7:56 pm

    I’ve been looking for a recipe like this. I cannot wait to try it. I love the American Test Kitchen.

  • megan January 23, 2011 at 9:28 pm

    I have 15 minutes, and some great quality canned tomatoes – so guess what I’m making for dinner tomorrow night? :)

  • Barbara Bakes January 23, 2011 at 11:39 pm

    ATK has some wonderful recipes. I’ll have to check my tomatoes and remember the tip about butter and onions.

  • mister anchovy January 24, 2011 at 6:32 am

    Looks good, although I’m not convinced that butter is the way to go, notwithstanding the explanation.

  • Kim January 24, 2011 at 8:29 am

    I really wish I watch the episodes of ATK. For some reason, maybe since we have satellite, I can’t get it. I love all the information here about choosing tomatoes, using butter, grating onion, etc. I’ll have to give this a try!

    The Muir Glen brand is my favorite brand of tomatoes. It really is a noticeable difference. I usually find mine in the whole foods/natural section (in the supermarket) or when I’m at Whole Foods I will stock up. They are quite a bit more expensive than regular brands, but I they’re worth it (especially if they are stealing the show in a recipe like this).

  • Daisy January 24, 2011 at 11:31 am

    This looks delicious! My home-canned tomatoes are all gone (sniff, sob), so I might use this.

  • teresa January 24, 2011 at 2:25 pm

    i cannot wait to try this! great recipe, thank you!

  • Feast on the Cheap January 24, 2011 at 2:36 pm

    Nothing I love more than a quick meal that relies on pantry staples, thanks for sharing!

  • Marla January 24, 2011 at 9:02 pm

    This tomato sauce is a must try. I bet that little bit of butter adds so much to the flavor. Thanks for the tomato tips!

  • Tiffany @ No Ordinary Homestead January 25, 2011 at 8:59 am

    Sounds delish! And really simple. I will definitely be trying this out. And I’ll be checking the labels next time I’m shopping too!!

  • Judy January 25, 2011 at 12:18 pm

    Hi Michelle,

    Thanks for all the tips. I didn’t know that about the tomatoes. I’ll be checking my labels. I just checked my diced tomatoes, and the can says tomatoes first.

    I’ll have to try making this–it has a lot of items usually in my kitchen. Judy

  • Guff January 26, 2011 at 7:19 am

    I confess to being a Cooks Illustrated/ATK Junkie. If they recommend a piece of equipment, I get it. When wwe watch the show my saintly wife often notes that they are using OUR stuff. They have come out with a Healthy Family Cookbook, and I got copies for each of our girls for Christmas.

  • Jenni January 26, 2011 at 1:37 pm

    Sounds pretty much like my go-to pantry tomato sauce. I didn’t know about the butter, though–I’ll be adding that to the mix next time I make it. Lovely!

  • Danielle January 29, 2011 at 12:06 pm

    haha….I jumped out of my seat and ran to my pantry to check my canned tomatoes!!! Thank you so much for sharing all this information about the butter and the grated onions too! Now I’m going to work this sauce into my dinner plans this week :). Oh I know….I’ll use it on pizza that I’m going to make with the HBin5 gluten free bread :)

  • Meatball Salad January 31, 2011 at 12:06 am

    […] serving this as a main course I made the meatballs about tennis ball size.   I made a batch of my Simple 15-minute Pasta Red Sauce and mixed up a salad with romaine lettuce, carrots, red sweet onion and radishes. For the dressing […]

  • Bizzy February 2, 2011 at 10:46 am

    This is going to make a great dinner for the family. I learned so much from this post. Thanks for sharing the knowldege as well as the recipe. Off to read tomato cans.

  • Daisy March 9, 2011 at 8:33 pm

    I am confused. Your post says “If TOMATO PUREE or TOMATO JUICE is the very first ingredient, the contents has been heated to a higher temperature for processing and consequently more fresh tomato taste is lost.”

    When I read this, it says to me that you do not want tomato to be the first because fresh tomato taste is lost. Am I misunderstanding?

    Thank you in advance for the reply.

    • Michelle March 9, 2011 at 9:48 pm

      Daisy,

      On the can if the first ingredient listed is just TOMATOES (just one word), that is good.

      If the first ingredient is TOMATO PUREE or TOMATO JUICE, the contents has been heated to a higher temperature during processing and it will lose some of the fresh tomato taste.

      Michelle

  • Daisy March 9, 2011 at 8:34 pm

    My apologies,

    I meant to add, this is a fantastic post! Thank you. I am excited to try this, this weekend.

  • Mel July 6, 2011 at 8:57 pm

    As much as I love cooking, I tend to ruin every recipe, ever. But not this time! I am a big time sauce fan and this was actually very good! Thanks for the recipe!

  • Threaded commenting powered by interconnect/it code.

Previous post:

Next post: