When you want some dinner food fast, you can’t beat pasta. It’s cheap, delicious and not entirely bad for you (as opposed to say, a Big Mac).
But then there’s the problem of sauce. Most of the glop that comes in a jar is loaded with sodium, and some are downright awful in terms of flavor. Sure, we have our favorites, but a nice, fresh sauce can take your same ol’ pasta dish to a whole new level.
Like, say, this one:
We made a classic, simple pomodoro sauce to accompany some frozen cheese ravioli. Not exactly rocket science, but it was hot, gooey comfort food on a day when I, for one, really needed it. And if you watch your serving size, this doesn’t have to be a gut buster.
Now what, exactly, is pomodoro sauce? Well, it depends on who you ask. Pomodoro is simply Italian for tomato. I like to think it’s mostly like marinara sauce, but with a little more texture.
To start, bring some salted water to a boil. The ravioli we used took about 20 minutes to cook through, so read your package directions carefully.
In the meantime, warm up 2 teaspoons of olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add two cloves of garlic, minced, and one small onion, diced.
Let them get all nice and sweaty, then add one 28-ounce can of diced plum tomatoes. If you can’t find plum, go ahead and use Roma, but it’s probably wise to add a teaspoon of sugar to the sauce after all the other ingredients are in.
Alright, looking good! Now, add three tablespoons of tomato paste (get the tube, not the can – it will last forever) and one teaspoon white wine vinegar (seriously, stop screwing around and go buy some!). Easy on the vinegar – don’t get heavy handed.
Now, add some dried oregano and 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper.
Finally, finish off the sauce with some chopped fresh basil.
What’s that? You’re out of fresh basil? Well, while you’re out buying white wine vinegar, pick up some of the fresh stuff, too. We grew some gigantic basil plants over the summer, but there was no way to keep them around through the fall – they were already starting to flower.
Instead, we pulled off the leaves we could salvage and cut them into long, thin ribbons (technically known as a chiffonade). We then stuffed the cut up basil leaves into ice cube trays and covered them with water. Into the freezer they went! Once they were frozen, we just popped them out of the tray and put them in a big plastic bag and back into the freezer. Whaddya know? Fresh basil all year long!
We put a few of the basil pops in the sauce.
Now, for the hard part. Waiting.
This sauce needs at least 20 minutes to fully come together. It might get a little goopy – that’s ok. Just throw in some of the pasta water to thin it out a bit.
To add to our yummy meal, we made a simple side salad with odds and ends from the refrigerator. Mixed greens are nice, as is just about any vegetable you could care to serve with this dish – I hear some folks really like green beans and marinara sauce. I’m sure pomodoro would work just as well.
Read the recipe here.