Saturday, January 23, 2010

“Panic” Pasta Sauce from Scratch

Ok. We’ve all promised a family member a particular meal for dinner and then opened the cupboard only to find that a key element of the meal was absent (likely consumed during the last time that a family member was promised the same meal).  Then you are presented with the inevitable choice: (a) break the news that the promised meal is not going to happen [and deal with the meltdown that ensues]; or (b) make something up on the spot.  It is a situation unlike this which has given rise to a new family favourite… “Panic” Pasta sauce (from scratch no less!).  This is the recipe for a remarkably decent and light sauce that was made using only the items I happened to have on hand.  If necessity is the mother of invention then this recipe is the screaming, moody, angry child of necessity.


  • 3T olive oil
  • 4-7 cloves of garlic, minced or VERY finely sliced (more to taste… I like 4… you might like 7… either way, don’t use less than 4 or it’s just not the same)
  • 2-3 medium tomatoes cored and diced without seeds(should make about 3 cups)
  • 1-2T dried basil flakes


  • Warm the olive oil on medium heat and when hot, combine with the garlic.  Cook garlic until it smells nice (2-3 minutes).  Don’t overcook the garlic.
  • Dump in the tomatoes and the basil flakes.
  • Stir on medium for 5-7 minutes until the tomatoes render a very light “rose” coloured sauce.
  • The more you cook the tomatoes, the smaller the bits will become.  I like the tomatoes to still have a distinct shape so this process takes 5-7 minutes.  If you like it to be much more “smooth” and less chunky, cook the tomatoes for longer.
  • If you started your pasta (penne works well with this sauce) first then you likely have the sauce and the pasta ready at about the same time.
  • Combine pasta, parmesan/romano cheese and the “panic” sauce and enjoy a nice hybrid between traditional (thick) tomato sauce and a completely oil-based sauce.

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