When you’re short on time and dinner has become an afterthought, this 2 ingredient quick pasta sauce has your back! It’s a quick combination of basic tomato sauce and garlic that gives your pasta night that home cooked feel, without taking more than 20 minutes to throw together.
Our week of reader recipes is continuing with a fun recipe sent to us by Debra from New York!
And the thing is, I’m not even sure we can call it a recipe, so much as it’s more a pasta hack. Nay, kitchen hack. Nay, life hack?!
Debra uses this recipe as a major time saver during pasta nights. It’s a way of amping up the flavors in a basic can of tomato sauce to give it that homemade flavor, without having to go get a bunch of ingredients.
So without further ado, let’s get into how to make this quick pasta sauce!
Pasta Sauce Ingredients
You’ll just need 2 ingredients to make this quick pasta sauce (well, and a splash of oil)!
Tomato Sauce: I love keeping cans of tomato sauce on hand, because they can be made into so many things! With minimal added flavors, it’s great to use to make marinara sauce, pizza sauce, or fun dishes like Shakshuka!
Garlic: We’re going heavy on the garlic because we’re garlic fiends around here.
Tomato Sauce vs. Marinara Sauce
Tomato sauce, marinara, and pizza sauce are all tomato-based sauces with some variations in their ingredients and preparation methods.
Tomato Sauce: Tomato sauce is a basic sauce made from tomatoes. It has a smooth and thick consistency and serves as a versatile base for many dishes, including pasta sauces, soups, and stews.
Marinara Sauce: Marinara sauce is a type of tomato sauce that originated in Italian cuisine. It is typically made with tomatoes, onions, garlic, olive oil, and herbs like basil and oregano. Marinara sauce is known for its bright and tangy flavor and is commonly used in pasta dishes, as a dipping sauce, or as a base for dishes like lasagna or chicken Parmesan.
Pizza Sauce: Pizza sauce is a specific type of tomato sauce specifically designed for pizzas. It is typically made with cooked or canned tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, and a blend of herbs and spices like oregano, basil, and crushed red pepper flakes. Pizza sauce tends to be thicker and more concentrated in flavor compared to other tomato sauces.
While there can be some overlap in ingredients and flavors between these sauces, the main difference lies in their intended use and the specific seasonings or variations used in each recipe.
How to make Quick Pasta Sauce
Step 1: Garlic
Heat a splash of oil in a pot or pan over medium heat. You can get away with using less oil in a nonstick pan, and may need a bit more otherwise. Add your minced garlic and cook it, stirring often, until it begins to turn golden and smell fragrant.
Step 2: Tomato
Pour in your tomato sauce, give it a good stir, then let that simmer for about 15 minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent burning. It’s ready when that tangy tomato flavor is gone and it tastes ultra savory and garlicky!
Step 3: Serve!
Serve warm with your favorite kind of pasta. I went with thick and slurpy bucatini noodles! (Short on time? Here’s how to cook pasta in the microwave!)
This easy pasta recipe is meant to be minimal and quick, but that doesn’t mean you can’t flavor it up with herbs and spices you may have on hand! Here are a few ideas:
- Basil: Fresh or dried basil leaves bring a classic Italian herb flavor to the sauce. Add them during cooking or as a garnish before serving.
- Oregano: Oregano is another staple herb in Italian cuisine. It adds a slightly earthy and robust flavor to the sauce. Use dried oregano or fresh leaves, depending on your preference.
- Onion: Sautéed onions can provide a subtle sweetness and depth of flavor to the sauce. Finely chop the onions and cook them until translucent before adding the tomatoes.
- Red pepper flakes: If you like a bit of heat, red pepper flakes can add a spicy kick to the sauce. Adjust the amount according to your spice tolerance.
- Italian seasoning: A pre-mixed blend of dried herbs like basil, oregano, thyme, and rosemary, known as Italian seasoning, can be a convenient way to add a well-rounded flavor to the sauce.
- Salt and pepper: Seasoning with salt and pepper is essential to bring out the flavors in the sauce. Taste and adjust the seasoning as needed.
This quick sauce goes well with so many Italian recipes. Here are a few of our favorites!
- Spaghetti Pizza is a fun take on spaghetti leftovers.
- Eggplant Meatballs doused in this tomato sauce…yum!
- Zucchini Noodles are only made better with a killer sauce.
- Splash olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 1 8-oz can tomato sauce 226 g
- Garlic: Heat a splash of oil in a pot or pan over medium heat. Add garlic and cook, stirring often, until it begins to turn golden and smell fragrant.
- Tomato: Stir in tomato sauce and continue to cook for about 15 minutes.
- Serve: Serve warm with your favorite pasta!