Whether you call it spaghetti sauce, pasta sauce, tomato sauce, or marinara sauce, it is a staple in the kitchen. With basics that you probably have in your pantry, make this 30 minute pasta sauce recipe. Use it for dinner, then freeze leftover sauce for an even faster dinner in the future, because homemade
30 Minute Spaghetti Sauce
Running out of my stash of frozen roasted tomato sauce, I grabbed a few things from my pantry and came up with this quick spaghetti sauce. It came out so good I couldn’t wait to share it with you. Spaghetti sauce is such a family basic recipe and it's easy to make homemade.
Spaghetti Sauce Ingredients
Grab these items from your pantry for making pasta sauce:
- Crushed tomatoes
- Tomato sauce or puree
- Dried Italian herb blend (basil, rosemary, marjoram, thyme, oregano)
- Olive oil
You can make this in about 30 minutes. Use this tomato sauce right away with pasta, shrimp, chicken, or meatballs. Leftovers freeze well so make a double batch if you have time.
Canned Tomato Tips
If all you have is whole tomatoes, give them a quick whirl in a blender to break them down. If tomato puree is what's in the pantry, it works great. Puree is a bit thicker than sauce, but it's also a little richer. If your sauce gets too thick, thin with a little water. Buy canned tomatoes in cans labelled "no BPA".
How to Make Spaghetti Sauce (Pasta Sauce)
Start by cooking chopped onions in olive oil until soft, then add chopped garlic. Add the herbs and spices and cook another minute to allow the flavors to release, then add crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, and wine (optional). Why the wine? It enhances flavor and adds depth. If you have kids or don't enjoy alcohol, leave it out.
Cover and simmer on low until the flavors blend, about 20 minutes. If you have more time simmer it a little longer. If it gets too thick, add a little water.
At this point use your pasta sauce for a meal or cool and freeze for future use. The sauce lasts 4 days in the refrigerator. To make this a meat sauce, add browned ground meat as the sauce simmers.
Spice Options: Anise Seed or Fennel Seed
One little extra that gives this pasta sauce great flavor is anise seed. It's common in Italian, Indian, Middle Eastern, German, and Mexican cooking. It's used in both savory and sweet recipes. It's in the same family as dill, cumin, and caraway
Anise seed has a lightly sweet-spicy licorice flavor offering something a little different to this pasta sauce recipe. If you can't find anise seed substitute fennel seed. They have a similar flavor. Fennel seed is known to be great for digestion too. Adding this is optional (but it's fun to try new things right?).
Why Buy Whole Spices?
Whole spices, freshly ground just before using, provide an amazing burst of flavor. An added benefit, whole spices stay fresher, longer in your pantry. When substituting ground spices for whole spices, start wtih half as much of the ground.
How Do I Grind Whole Spices?
To grind whole spices, use an inexpensive electric spice and coffee grinder reserved for spices. I buy it whole and grind it in a mortar and pestle or a little spice grinder.
How to Use Spaghetti Sauce
Try it with Turkey Meatballs or to top Quick Chicken Cutlets topped with Parmesan cheese for easy Chicken Parmesan. For a quick dinner use this recipe for pasta with chicken sausage and substitute this sauce for the fresh tomatoes.
30 Minute Spaghetti Sauce
- Medium pot or Dutch oven
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 cup finely chopped onion
- 3 large garlic cloves finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon dried Italian herbs blend basil, oregano, thyme, rosemary, marjoram
- 2 teaspoons anise seed or fennel seed, freshly ground or 1 teaspoon, ground, optional
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper
- 1 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
- 1 15 ounce can tomato sauce
- ¼ cup red wine optional
- Heat olive oil in a medium pot over medium low heat and add onion. Cook until onion is soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook 1 minute longer. Add the dried herb (s), ground anise seed, black pepper, red pepper, and salt and cook another 1-2 minutes. Add tomatoes and sauce, and wine if using. Cover and simmer sauce for 20 minutes until flavors are blended. For a smoother sauce, puree briefly in blender.