weeknight sauce

IMG_0901FullSizeRender-1IMG_0923Lately, I have been becoming the master of making a feast out of random things we have in our fridge and pantry, all because I’m too busy/lazy to go to the grocery store. It surprises me every time to see what bounty we really have.

Pasta is one of the easiest and quickest things to make when you’re in a bind for ingredients, and there is always at least one half eaten box of pasta in the pantry. This sauce is inspired by my “inspiration-less” nights when we just need some form of food in our bellies, and I don’t have any creative juices left. This is a meal that’s quick, easy, and simply delicious!

This weeknight sauce is great because it uses items that you most likely already have in your pantry: like that half glass of red wine you have left that’s really past its prime and not good for drinking.  Something else that I know you have in your fridge is, wait for it…ketchup. I don’t know, maybe you use ketchup in your pasta all the time (you’re ahead of the game!), or maybe there are things you do as a parent that I haven’t experienced yet (like putting ketchup on everything so your kid will eat it—such a kid I was not). What I do know is that Ketchup is really a key ingredient here, adding the perfect amount of sweetness to cut through the acidic tomatoes and also a bit of thickness that you would get from adding something like tomato sauce.  (It drives me nuts when recipes call for 1 or 2 tablespoons of tomato sauce or tomato paste and then I waste the rest. Use ketchup! Seriously…) 

The final touch to this sauce is a little bit of butter. You can leave it out if you really feel strongly about it, but I feel strongly that you shouldn’t:) It’s just a small amount, and it adds a perfect creamy-richness to the end that binds it all together perfectly.IMG_0925

Weeknight Sauce
Serves 3-4

3 tbsp. olive oil
2 cloves garlic minced
1 28 oz. can diced tomatoes
3 tbsp. ketchup
3 tbsp. red wine
A few shakes dried oregano
Salt and pepper to taste
A few shakes red pepper flakes (optional)

1/2 lb. spaghetti (or pasta shape of your choice)

1 tbsp. butter

Grated parm
Cracked pepper

Heat large skillet over medium heat. Add olive oil and garlic. Use a spatula to push the garlic around, allowing the garlic to become aromatic. After about 30 seconds of sizzling garlic (do not let the garlic begin to brown), add the rest of the ingredients to the skillet. Allow to simmer and stir occasionally, about 25 minutes (how long it takes to boil water and cook your pasta).

Prepare a pot of boiling water. Once boiling, add your desired shape pasta. Drain once the pasta has reached al dente. (Follow the suggested cooking time on the box of pasta)

Remove the sauce from heat. Add the butter and stir in until melted and a touch creamy. Add pasta to the pan and coat thoroughly in the sauce.

*Feel free to use a blender or an immersion blender right in the pan to blend the sauce to a finer consistency. The tomatoes are very tender, and I like mine chunky for this.

Plate generously with a few cracks of pepper and plenty of parmigiano reggiano!

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