my go to red sauce

For those times when you truly want fresh tomato sauce, but haven't the time to boil, crush, mix, puree your own tomatoes--I always go for the San Marzano canned tomatoes. 
If you haven't tried cooking with these you must.
It will give you a little inside taste of what tasting fresh tomatoes from Italy tastes like.
They are a bit pricey, but from time to time I've seen Whole Foods have sales on them, and that is when  I stock up.
Hands down, these tomatoes are the best--so sweet, never bitter.
Mix them with fresh herbs, a little garlic, salt, pepper, maybe a little heat and you're good to go.
I'd like to share with you my "go to" red sauce, it has a tiny amount of heavy cream in it to bring it all together.
Feel free to add or take away what you like or don't like; it's a great base recipe for customizing it to your own tastes.
And as you'll notice we don't put cheese on this sauce; the flavor of the san marzano tomatoes are just so good, so sweet, that cheese takes away from that.
But feel free to customize this sauce to your own likings.
This paste goes a long way, it's very strong, so you only need a little bit.
This recipe makes just enough for about a pound of pasta.
Does it freeze? I have no idea.
I highly suggest saving a little bit for a homemade pizza--delish.

dawns red sauce

1 can (28 oz.) san marzano crushed tomatoes (drained, reserve some of the liquid)
1 TB (or more) San marzano tomato paste
3-4 TB extra virgin olive oil
hand full fresh basil, chopped
hand full fresh parsley, plus more for garnish
fresh oregano (half a hand full) or 1 TB dried
2-3 TB fresh garlic
1 – 1 ½ TB heavy cream
1-2 TB fresh pepper flakes
salt & pepper to taste

In a medium saucepan, heat up the olive oil, add in the garlic, sauté a bit.
Add in the red pepper flakes, heat through (1-2 minutes).
Add in the tomato paste, stir through.
Add in the drained crushed tomatoes.
Heat this through.
Then add in all your herbs and a pinch of salt & pepper.
Heat this through and taste-test—see what it needs.
Might need more salt or pepper or need more oregano.
Let it sauté a bit over medium to low heat.
If the sauce it too thick for you, add in some of the reserved liquid from the crushed tomatoes. (I like my sauce thick).
When ready to serve, add in about 1 to 1 ½ TB of heavy cream, heat through.
Serves enough sauce for almost a pound of pasta.


  1. I just made homemade sauce (like this quick version) from two peas...love! Made me feel a little lazy for buying the jarred version. Yours sounds fantastic!

  2. I just love this sauce (my Italian husband would call it gravy), Dawn! Everyone needs a go-to tomato sauce and this one sounds absolutely DELISH!

  3. Ooo love the tiny bit of heavy cream added to this, I bet that adds all kinds of wonderfulness.

  4. I'm a huge fan of San Marzanos.
    They're all I use!

  5. Just when I think I can't eat any more pasta...I see beautiful photos of pasta. Oh, carbs, I can't quit you.

    Yum! (Love the fact that you tossed in a wee bit of heavy cream.)

  6. I always use San Marzanos also! It's worth the extra dollar or two for the good stuff!

  7. I always buy San Marzano tomatoes whenever I can. They don't always have them at the Italian grocers these days. Seems other people have discovered them too:D

  8. Spaghetti with a simple tomato sauce made with San Marzano tomatoes is one of my favorite dish!! Your recipe sounds sooo delicious!!

  9. I've never met a bad tomato sauce but this one looks spectacular!

  10. Homemade red sauces are always nice, easy and tasty!

  11. yum! all those fresh herbs are key. this is a lovely sauce, dawn!


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