Recipe: Easy Made Red Sauce


Cary, NC — Want a good, home-made red sauce that’s simple, easy and takes little time? Here’s the college man’s easy make, not-out-of-a-can red sauce.


For this sauce, you will need just a few things that you most likely already have.

  • 2 tbls olive oil (enough to cover the bottom of the pan)
  • Half a medium, yellow onion, finely diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, diced
  • 1 28oz can of diced tomatoes (romas if you can find them)
  • About half a cup of chicken stock (for you vegetarians, vegetable stock also works)
  • 1/4 cup Red wine (more or less to taste)
  • Italian seasoning (basil, oregeno, thyme, marjoram, rosemary, and sage)
  • Salt and pepper
  • Pasta of your choice (I recommend penne or linguine, something large to allow the sauce to coat it)

This should make enough for three or four people.

Prep work

Measure and cut all your ingredients prior to starting to cook. Dice up your onions and garlic. Use a sauce pan or anything with walls to keep those liquids and small bits in. All ingredients need to be open and ready to go once you start the stove. You don’t want to anything burning while you’re busy dicing something up, now do you? Of course not.


With that olive oil covered pan over it, turn on your stove to about medium-high heat. Once hot, toss on your onions and let them cook until they’re translucent before tossing on your garlic. Garlic doesn’t take nearly as long to cook as your onion will and will likely burn if you put them both in at the same time.

Once you can see through those onions, put in the garlic. Mix occasionally and wait until they are aromatic.

Toss in the diced tomatoes. You’re free to add as much or as little of wine and stock as you like, but I do recommend at least half a cup of stock. Don’t forget to salt and pepper and then add few dashes of your seasoning.

Stir it all together and bring the heat down to simmer. Let it sit and stir occasionally. Bring another pot of water to boil and cook your pasta of choice.

What we’re doing at this point is reducing the sauce. As the link will tell you, when you reduce, what you are doing is boiling out the water in a sauce, syrup, what-have-you. This intensifies the flavors. A good example of this is a balsamic syrup. But be careful how you do this. As you are getting water out of the sauce, you are getting other liquids out as well.

That said, if you’re not paying attention, rather than great sauce, you’ll end up with a dry mess instead. This process should take 15 minutes at the least. When the liquid in the pan has reached an low level (I’d say a little less than half of what you started with should be gone), turn off the heat and serve.

Bon appetite!


Story by Matt Posek. Photo from Annalisa Antonini.