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Back to Basics - How to Make a Simple Pasta Sauce

Updated: Sep 12, 2023

If you're a pasta fan like me, you're going to want to make it home at LEAST once a week. But sometimes, making a pasta sauce can be either time consuming or confusing. You want to get it just right without burning the sauce so I'm here to help! Today, I am here to teach you how to make a simple, yet delicious pasta with minimal ingredients. You're going to end up with a restaurant style pasta in less than 20 minutes! So, let's get to it.

Yields: 1

Prep time: 15 minutes

Total time: 20 minutes

This recipe can be dairy free and/or gluten free.



1. 1 box of pasta (I used Eat Banza which is a chickpea pasta)

2. 10 cherry tomatoes or 2 San Marzano tomatoes

Traditionally speaking, Italians use San Marzano tomatoes in their sauce but if you have cherry tomatoes handy, that will do.

3. Tomato paste

4. Fresh parsley

5. 5 garlic cloves

6. Extra virgin olive oil

7. Kosher salt

8. Dried oregano and dried basil



1. First things first, grab a pot and fill it up with water. It doesn't matter which temperature because we are going to boil the water. Fill it up half way.

2. Place it on the stove, turn the stove to high and salt the water well.

The reason why we salt the water is to enhance the flavors of the water, which in turn is absorbed by the pasta once it's added.

3. While the water is boiling, chop the cherry tomatoes in halves or the San Marzano tomatoes into medium chunks.

4. Finely dice the garlic cloves.

5. Now, finely chop 6 stems or half a bunch of fresh parsley. Leave this until the end.

6. Now, grab a large frying pan and add 2 TBSPS of extra virgin olive oil. Add the minced garlic cloves.

7. Turn the heat to medium and stir the garlic well within the oil. Wait for the garlic to start simmering to add the cherry tomatoes.

Never let the garlic burn, it will lose it's natural flavor. So, keep the heat on medium and ensure to stir it well.

8. Now, add the cherry tomatoes and 2 TBSPS of tomato paste. Stir well.

Tomato paste is added into sauces to thicken it and give it that very red color as well. But, do not add too much because we want to enjoy the taste of the fresh tomatoes in the sauce as well.

9. While the pasta is cooking to al dente (still firm when bitten), grab a laddle and fill it up with some of the pasta water and pour it into the frying pan. I say add ¼ cup or so.

NEVER throw out your pasta water until you're done cooking. Since the pasta has been cooking in the water, it creates a starchier water, so adding it to a sauce helps thicken it and create a glue between the sauce and pasta once it's added in. The flavor is also so much better.

10. Stir the cherry tomatoes, tomato paste, and pasta water well so a sauce starts to form.

11. Once the pasta has been cooked al dente, strain it but keep some of the pasta water on the side.

12. Add the pasta into the sauce and stir well.

13. Now for a taste test. Taste for salt. Add to your liking.

14. Once you start noticing the sauce gluing to the pasta, lower the heat.

We want the sauce to simmer but not burn.

15. Add your dried oregano and dried basil to your liking.

Always add herbs at the end. If you add them in too early they will slowly lose their fresh taste. Adding them at the end allows your food to have a delicious, herb-y taste.

16. Sprinkle on the fresh parsley. Turn the heat off.

17. Serve and enjoy!

If you'd like to add cheese, I highly recommend adding the cheese at the end not in the beginning. Personally, if I had fresh mozzarella or parmigiano reggiano, I add it once the sauce glues to the pasta and I had turned the heat to low. I allow the cheese to slowly melt and not burn/stick to the pan. It keeps a fresh, cheese-y taste.


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