Kickin’ it in the Kitchen with New Cooks: Pasta Sauce

Each week I try to post a recipe appropriate for beginning cooks. I have a number of students who will be graduating or have already graduated that have no idea how to feed themselves. They know they have to get their fruits, vegetables and protein, but how to make them in their own kitchen is a mystery to them. This week we make a simple red sauce for pasta, pizza or on anything you would have need for a tomato based sauce.

My rule of thumb: why pay for anything when you can make it for pennies on the dollar. In most cases, it will be cheaper and better for you. And always, it will not have the sugars, preservatives and will contain much less salt.

This is a multi-purpose tomato basil sauce that can be used as a marinara, pizza, and pasta sauce. It can be thick and chunky or blended into a silky smooth sauce for topping a pizza or dipping bread sticks.

Photo by Budhaditya Bose on


Equipment: you’ll need a six quart sauce pan with a lid (or a big pot) and a wooden spoon.

Ingredients: One 28 ounce can of whole tomatoes, one 14.5 ounce can of petite diced tomatoes, one 6 ounce can of tomato paste, 6 big cloves of garlic (plus or minus to taste), half of a large red onion, 3-4 teaspoons “everything seasoning” (or a blend of salt and pepper to taste), and 3-4 tablespoons dried basil.


Do a rough chop on your garlic (if you like it chunky) or mince it. Just a note: if you mince it, the garlic flavor will be intense. I like the benefits of garlic, but not garlic breath.

Chop your onion and set both the onion and garlic aside.

Add 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil to your pan and heat on medium high for 1 minute. Add your onions and garlic and sauté (fry) until the onions are translucent.

Using your spoon, make space for the tomato paste by pushing the onions and garlic to the sides. Drop your tomato paste in the middle and “toast” it by letting it brown for about 30 seconds before stirring it into the onions and garlic.

After 30 seconds, combine by stirring the tomato paste in with the onions and garlic let the combination “toast” for two minutes, stirring every 15-30 seconds.

Seasoning SPLASH #1: Time to hit the “sauce” with seasoning. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon of “everything seasoning” and 1 tablespoon of dried basil. Stir it in.

Add the 28 ounce can of whole tomatoes. Stir occasionally and let simmer for 15 minutes.

Add the 14.5 ounce can of petite diced tomatoes. Stir to combine.

Seasoning SPLASH #2: Time to hit the “sauce” with seasoning again. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon of “everything seasoning” and 1 tablespoon of dried basil. Stir it in.

Let the sauce simmer with the lid off for 30 minutes on medium low heat.

After Thirty Minutes:

Seasoning SPLASH #3: Time to hit the “sauce” with seasoning again. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon of “everything seasoning” and 1 tablespoon of dried basil. Stir it in.

Cover the sauce with the lid, but tip the lid so steam can escape as it cooks down. Cook for another 30 minutes stirring occasionally. Taste the sauce as it cooks down to see if it needs any more seasoning.

That’s it. It’s that easy.


Here are are some ingredients you can experiment with: if you would like a soft heat in the background of your sauce, try adding a teaspoon or red pepper flakes when you add the tomato paste and toast them at the same time. As the sauce comes together, the heat of the pepper flakes will bloom and spread evenly throughout the sauce.

If you are 21 or older: To make the sauce more ROBUST, after you have add all the tomatoes, add an ounce of red wine. The alcohol in the wine helps break down the fats in the food to help liberate the flavor molecules making the sauce more rich and hearty.

For a more nutty garlicky addition (along with the garlic that is already present) add a head of roast garlic at the end along with the 3rd SPLASH of seasoning. It will add to the depth of flavor. The recipe for roasted garlic is next week’s NEW COOKS blog post and video – STAY TUNED.

Check out the video for this recipe below:

As always,  thank you for coming by to read this. I’d like to grow my readership. If you enjoyed this blog post, add a comment and share it with a friend. 😀 Please visit, subscribe and like my YouTube channel Kickin’ it with Karen: Beyond Sauerkraut to find more things I’ve made.

Categories New CooksTags , , , , , , , ,

2 thoughts on “Kickin’ it in the Kitchen with New Cooks: Pasta Sauce

  1. I can personally attest to how great this sauce tastes too.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes you can. And I appreciate you loving it!


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