Monday Night Pasta Sauce

Last week I wanted a bright and very tomato-y pasta sauce. Mark Bittman, in his cookbook “How to Cook Everything,” has several variations on tomato pasta sauce. I combined the spiced, garlicky, and spicy versions together to make this very simple and delicious pasta sauce. It doesn’t take very long to prep or cook, making it a great and quick weeknight meal. Try it and let me know how you like it!

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 28 ounce can whole tomatoes (or diced), in their liquid
1 small can of tomato sauce
8 leaves fresh basil, minced
pinch of red pepper flakes
salt, pepper, oregano, to taste
2 servings spaghetti noodles, cooked according to package instruction
shredded Parmesan or pecorino Romano, for garnish

1. Heat the oil over medium heat in a large saucepan.
2. Add the garlic to the pan and saute for 2 minutes, or until the garlic starts to brown slightly. (I’ve learned that if you can smell the garlic, it’s ready.)
3. If you’re using whole tomatoes, chop them first before adding them. Add the tomatoes and tomato sauce, and season with the oregano, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper. Add about 1 1/2 teaspoons of the minced basil.
4. Let everything simmer over medium heat for 10-20 minutes.
5. While the sauce is simmering, boil water and cook pasta according to package directions.
6. Strain the pasta and add into the sauce. Turn off the heat to the pasta sauce. Top each individual serving with the rest of the fresh basil and cheese.
7. Enjoy!

Pasta with Arugula, Tomatoes, and Parmesan Cheese

“Julia Child wasn’t always Julia Child.” — from the movie, “Julie and Julia.”

When I first started to cook, I followed recipes completely, for fear that if I didn’t the final product would fall apart.

When I started creating recipes, I was still afraid to show them off, for lack of confidence.

A few nights ago, I had a vague idea of what I wanted. I knew I wanted pasta, and I knew I wanted breadsticks made from scratch.

Here’s what the boyfriend and I came up with:

(I don’t think the picture does the dish justice but I thought I’d at least show you what it ended up looking like.)

Here’s the recipe:

Pasta with Arugula, Tomatoes, and Parmesan cheese

Prep: about 15 minutes
Cooking: 30 minutes


4 garlic cloves
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 to 3 cups arugula
20 cherry tomatoes (we used yellow and red)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
red pepper flakes

1. Cook pasta according to package directions. (Or, if you’re like Mario Batali, one minute less than the box says.)
2. In a medium or large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic and cook until garlic just begins to brown (about 1 to two minutes).
3. Add arugula to garlic and olive oil. Mix and let wilt.
4. Add tomatoes to arugula, garlic, and olive oil mix. Cook until heated through.
5. Toss pasta and Parmesan cheese with arugula mix. Season with black pepper, salt, and red pepper flakes.
6. Serve immediately.

And remember, it’s never too late to become passionate about something. I never thought I’d love to cook, or share recipes.