Basic Tomato Pasta Sauce

Basic Tomato Pasta Sauce Recipe

After a long day at work the last thing you want to do is to spend hours in the kitchen cooking dinner.  As much as I love cooking, there are some days that I get home from work and the last thing I want to do is spend time in the kitchen cooking up a storm.  That’s something I save for the weekend when I have time to flick through cookbooks for inspiration and can savour the time I spend in the kitchen.  So, on the weekend, one of the things I like to do is to cook a few things that make weekday meals easier.

One of the things I like to make is a large pot of tomato pasta sauce or marinara sauce for my American readers.  If you mention the words marinara sauce in Australia and people will immediately think of a tomato based seafood pasta sauce.  A good tomato pasta sauce is a kitchen staple.  It can be used to whip up a weekday meal and simply served with pasta or used as a base for a whole variety of dishes from lasagna, soup, as a pizza sauce, or used in a casserole.

After cooking up a huge pot of sauce I divide it up into zip lock bags and freeze it.  I can then pull it out on nights I’m too tired to cook up a storm.

One of the things I like to do with the sauce is to fry up some mushrooms in olive oil and garlic, add the sauce, cook the sauce for a few minutes and allow the mushrooms to absorb the flavour of the sauce before adding some white wine, cream and parmesan.

What are your tricks to make weekday meals easier?  Do you cook in advance?  If so, what do you cook?


Marinara Pasta Sauce Recipe

Basic Tomato Pasta Sauce
Cook time
Total time
Recipe adapted from Ina Garten's Marinara Sauce
Serves: 8
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 2 small onions, diced
  • 3 stalks of celery, chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 3 x 400g tins of Italian diced tomatoes
  • ⅓ cup of basil, chopped
  • ¾ cup of red wine
  • 2 teaspoons of salt
  • ½ teaspoon of freshly cracked pepper
  1. Heat a large pot over a medium heat and add the olive oil, onions, celery and garlic and cook until the onion becomes translucent.
  2. Add the wine and turn the heat up and cook until the wine almost evaporates.
  3. Add the tomatoes,salt, pepper and basil and cover and cook on a low heat for 2 hours. I find cooking the sauce longer results in a sauce that almost melts in your mouth.
  4. Set the sauce aside to cool and portion into zip lock bags. I portion the sauce into 2 large servings, which equates to 4 bags.

Creamy Tomato Pasta Sauce with Mushrooms, Cream and Parmesan

Serves 2

1 portion of sauce
1 clove of garlic
5 mushrooms
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 tablespoon of cream
1/4 cup of parmesan

1. Heat a pan over a medium heat and add the garlic and mushrooms and cook the mushroom for 4 to 5 minutes.

2. Add the frozen sauce and defrost in the pan.  Once defrosted cook for 5 minutes to allow the mushrooms to absorb the flavours of the sauce.

3. Add the cream and parmesan and cook for a few minutes.  Add to some cooked pasta (I prefer wholemeal penne) and toss to combine.

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  1. Kiki Chaos November 7, 2010  7:41 pm Reply

    Oh, this post is a blessing! I need to do exactly the same thing, but I need someone to literally hand me a recipe. I'm useless at sourcing my own. Thanks!
    My recent post Square peg in a round hole

    • delicieux November 7, 2010  9:25 pm Reply

      You're welcome Kiki. I hope you enjoy the sauce if you end up making it.

  2. Heidi November 7, 2010  10:09 pm Reply

    There is nothing like a simple pasta sauce. It so hits the spot after a long day. With a glass of vino = heaven!
    Heidi xo
    My recent post French Toast

    • delicieux November 8, 2010  8:05 am Reply

      It does hit the spot doesn't it, and I agree, along with a nice glass of vino.

    • delicieux November 8, 2010  8:07 am Reply

      Thanks for stopping by Nancy :)

  3. Not Quite Nigella November 8, 2010  9:32 pm Reply

    Hehe so true, when I first read marinara sauce, I thought it was a seafood sauce! My weekday tips are to cook simple things and if all else fails, a lovely plate of scrambled eggs with really nice bread and butter will do :D
    My recent post Kakawa Chocolates- Darlinghurst

  4. Liz November 9, 2010  12:49 pm Reply

    I love this recipe & even better with variation included. I will certainly try it this weekend. Thanks for posting.

  5. Sara November 11, 2010  1:08 am Reply

    I freeze homemade pesto in ice cube trays, then save each cube in one of those snack-size (very small) plastic baggies. I add a little extra olive oil to the baggie to help the pesto from browning. Each cube is the perfect amount of pesto for a serving of pasta, and it thaws while you're cooking the pasta. Dinner can't get much faster and easier than that!

    • delicieux November 12, 2010  7:27 am Reply

      Hi Sara, I freeze pesto too. It's so handy. Your ice tray idea is great. :)

  6. Bubble and Sweet November 12, 2010  1:13 pm Reply

    Sometimes I cook up a double batch and freeze one for the next week, I love those days I get the frozen meal out, like a mini holiday.

    • delicieux November 15, 2010  11:45 am Reply

      It is like a mini holiday isn't it? As much as I love cooking there are days when I am seriously too tired so knowing you have something good and wholesome in the freezer is fantastic.

  7. Gabby December 15, 2010  1:46 pm Reply

    I just stumbled upon your website. This dish looks amazing!

    • delicieux December 15, 2010  3:08 pm Reply

      Thanks Gabby and thanks for visiting. I hope you'll come back :D


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