It’s no secret that I am Italian and I like to cook.

The question I am most frequently asked is, “Would you share your tomato sauce recipe with me?” My answer is always the same: “Of course, but it might not be what you think!”

When most people think of Italian tomato sauce, they envision a white haired lady stirring a bubbling pot of thick, rich red sauce for hours, then ladling it over homemade pasta. This is the kind of sauce my grandmother makes. Her grandmother made it before her. I can make it too but I almost never do. Instead, my go-to sauce takes about 10 minutes from start to finish and my family loves it so much they request it on a weekly basis.

The key to any good recipe is fresh ingredients. The tastier and more natural the components of your sauce, the better the final sauce will be. Just because you can get it in a can or box doesn’t mean you should.
Here’s my Pasta Pomodoro recipe:

• 1/4 cup olive oil
• 1/2 onion, chopped
• 4 cloves garlic, minced
• 1 cup roma (plum) tomatoes, diced
• 1 cup grape tomatoes halved
• 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
• 1 (10.75 ounce) can low-sodium chicken broth, if you can make your own, do it!
• freshly ground black pepper to taste
• 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
• 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Lightly sauté the onions and garlic. Add tomatoes, balsamic vinegar and broth. Simmer five minutes to reduce sauce, then mix with your favourite pasta (ours is thick tagliatelle), basil, pepper and cheese. Enjoy!

This is the kind of simple sauce in which you can taste each of the ingredients, the tang of the good quality, thick, aged balsamic, the earthy garlic and the licorice-like basil.

So take my advice, you don’t have to stand over that pot anymore. Spend that meal-prep time securing the best ingredients you can. Then spend the time you save relaxing and enjoying your meal with the loved ones you cooked it for.

Alana Marchetto