Basic Pasta Tomato Sauce Recipe

Basic Pasta Tomato Sauce (photo by Michael Rao)

Basic Pasta Tomato Sauce (photo by Michael Rao)

One of my former magazine colleagues, Fina Scroppo, has turned her hand to writing a cookbook, and I wanted to share a recipe or two with you from her excellent “The Healthy Italian–Cooking for the Love of Food and Family.” (It’s published by Danvid and Company Inc., and the photography is by Michael Rao.)

In this lively and easy-to-follow cookbook, there are 150 recipes that are authentically Italian, yet still healthy. “This cookbook is personal passion of mine,” says Scroppo. “Growing up Italian, food has always been at the epicentre of my life. But the challenge has been to cook Italian healthfully without compromising taste, fit it into my day and feel good about serving those meals to my family.”

Scroppo feels it’s never been easier to cook healthy meals, thanks in part to grocery stores stocking more nutritious options that can also be convenient–an aspect she pays close attention to, without losing focus on taste. “My family wouldn’t have it any other way!”

A tomato pasta sauce has become a staple in many Canadian kitchens. But many of us rely on jarred sauces. So try this one (and make a big batch to freeze): It’s packed with vitamins A and C–and it’s deliciously, authentically Italian.

Basic Pasta Tomato Sauce (Salsa di Pomodoro)

  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 tbsp no-salt-added tomato paste
  • 1 cup water
  • 4 cups no-salt-added tomato puree (passata)
  • 1 small carrot, grated (about 1/4 cup)
  • 2-3 bay leaves
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh basil
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tsp Italian herb seasoning
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste.

In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic and cook until onions are softened, about 2 minutes. (If you like it spicy, add 1 tsp dried crushed red pepper flakes.) Add tomato paste and stir in water to dissolve. Stir in tomato puree, grated carrot, herbs, salt and pepper.

Reduce heat to low, cover and bring to a gentle summer. Cook for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Remove and discard bay leaves before serving tossed with pasta. Sauce will keep in the refrigerator for up to one week and freezes for up to one month.

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