Monday, July 9, 2012

Fresh Tomato Pasta Sauce

A versatile and super easy pasta sauce made from garden fresh tomatoes, pictured here with a three cheese tortellini and garnished with freshly grated Parmesan cheese and fresh parsley.

Fresh Tomato Pasta Sauce

We're already heading halfway into the month of July, so I guess we're getting pretty close to that final lap of summer, for which many of us will be grateful! I don't know about y'all, but I'm sure praying for a cooler fall and winter this year than last because it's been hotter than the hinges of Hades pretty much everywhere this summer.

Unfortunately though, that also means that we'll be not long before saying goodbye to our favorite summer produce too, so get 'em in while ya can! {Southern Sidebar: Don't you just love how some of us southerners can butcher up the English language with a sentence like that? The grammar police must really love those of us who write on sites like this. Relax. We just like to write how we talk is all.}

Personally, I think The Cajun will be happy for that, since we've had a lot of vegetable-centric dishes showing up around here that his veggie opposed self won't eat. Just yesterday, I tried, once again, to convince him to try just a bite of fried green tomato - which, coincidentally he brought home for me his very own self - but he just wouldn't go for it. I'll keep trying, but it's his loss and more for me! By the way, I have a great recipe coming up where those will make a guest of honor appearance, and decked out with a brand new breading too, so stay tuned for that.

This recipe uses regular ole red tomatoes though, and if you love them as much as me, I think you'll really enjoy this very versatile sauce. It pairs well with pretty much any pasta, and will stand just as well all on it's own, as it will paired up with a protein.

I fix it most often with either shrimp or crab usually with a thin vermicelli or angel hair pasta, but today I decided to go meatless and pair the sauce with a three cheese tortellini finished with some freshly grated Parmesan. This simple fresh sauce over pasta makes it a great meatless main dish meal, or as a side dish to go with just about anything. Even though the standard sides are mashed potatoes and creamed green peas, I love to make this sauce with angel hair pasta as a side with my salmon patties. It may not be traditional, but it sure is tasty with those!

Here's how to make this beautiful pasta sauce made from garden fresh tomatoes. 

I've mentioned a few times this season how much I love my newest gadget - this soft skin peeler. I'm just tickled pink about it y'all!! One of y'all actually talked me into this purchase last year and I'm so glad you did.

I mean, c'mon look how beautifully these tomatoes peeled and there's none of that boiling mess. When you just need a few tomatoes for a sauce, this is just the easiest way to peel them. Works fantastic with those peaches too. Check your local kitchen or department store next time you have a few kitchen things to buy, or order one up from Amazon and have it delivered to you - it's my favorite kitchen tool right now!

Once you've peeled the tomatoes, chop them up but be sure to retain the juices. I just use my kitchen shears and do them right in the bowl.

Heat the butter and olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Add the green onion and  garlic.

And the tomatoes.

And cook until soft.

Stir in the salt, pepper, Cajun seasoning and sugar.

Add the white wine if you're using. You can also substitute chicken stock or broth if you like. Simmer for about 5 minutes.

Add the basil and parsley to the sauce and gently toss; taste and adjust seasonings as needed.

Viola! Fresh tomato pasta sauce. Isn't it gorgeous? Now you just have to decide if you want to add in any cooked protein and what pasta to use.

I decided to go meatless and chose tortellini this time. I'm using a 9-ounce package of Buitoni 3-cheese tortellini. It's a little more costly than the generic tortellini, which of course I also buy, but honestly it's one of those things that is worth the extra cost to me, especially if it's going to be part of a central main dish like this one.

Spoon the fresh tomato sauce over the top.

Gently toss.

Grate some fresh Parmesan cheese over the top.

Garnish with a little parsley and dig in!

For more of my favorite recipes using fresh tomatoes, visit my page on Pinterest!

If you make this or any of my recipes, I'd love to see your results! Just snap a photo and hashtag it #DeepSouthDish on social media or tag me @deepsouthdish on Instagram!


Recipe: Fresh Tomato Pasta Sauce

©From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish
Prep time: 10 min |Cook time: 15 min | Yield: About 4 cups

  • 1 tablespoon of butter
  • 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup sliced green onions
  • 1 tablespoon of minced garlic
  • 4 cups of peeled and chopped fresh tomatoes, juices retained
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon of freshly cracked black pepper, or to taste
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of Cajun seasoning (like Slap Ya Mama), or to taste
  • 2 teaspoons of granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1 teaspoon of fresh, chopped basil
  • 1/2 tablespoon of fresh chopped parsley, plus more for garnish
  • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, optional

Heat butter and olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Add the green onion, garlic, and chopped tomatoes to the skillet; sauté until tomatoes begin to soften slightly. Stir in the salt, pepper, Cajun seasoning, sugar and wine; simmer for about 5 minutes. Add the basil and parsley to the pasta and gently toss; taste and adjust seasonings as needed.

Add your choice of cooked pasta to the sauce, stir to mix thoroughly and turn out into a pasta bowl. Garnish each serving with parsley and grate fresh Parmesan cheese over the top, if desired. Serve immediately with fresh hot bread and a side salad.

Cook's Notes: Sauce is pictured with a 9-ounce package of Buitoni 3-cheese tortellini. When making this as a main dish, especially with a protein, reserve 1 cup of the pasta water, using as needed after mixing the sauce with your pasta, if the pasta needs additional liquid. If you're planning to serve this sauce with seafood and pasta, add 1/2 teaspoon of Old Bay seasoning and finish with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.

To substitute dried herbs for fresh, you'll need about 1/4 teaspoon of basil and 1 teaspoon of parsley. Substitute a 28-ounce can plus a 15-ounce can of whole tomatoes, undrained and chopped, when fresh tomatoes are out of season. This is a light, fresh tomato pasta sauce recipe that is not sauce-heavy. If you prefer a heavier sauce to pasta ratio, you'll need to double the tomatoes or add tomato sauce.


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Posted by on July 9, 2012
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  1. Well, fresh tomato sauce deserves the best pasta I think-this looks so delicious to me Mary! Makes me want to make a big pan full myself. But I don't have tomatoes this year, so I'll have to go to the farmer's market this week.
    I also can't wait for this hot weather to be gone, although I hate to wish my time away. I'm hoping for a normal, cooler fall and winter this year too.

    1. Isn't that the truth Lynda! Seems that time is zooming by now that I'm over 50. What the heck?! Hope you enjoy the sauce!!

  2. I need to get that peeler! I never bother to peel my tomatoes because it's too much work.

    1. Oh my gosh, you will be so happy Pam!! It's super easy to use, fast & does a great job.

  3. I can almost smell it and my mouth is watering!

    1. Aw Eva, you're so sweet - hope you try it sometime!!

  4. This looks great! Think I'll add beef stock instead. I like the color and flavor of the beef.

  5. Yummy!!!! I've wanted a good fresh tomato sauce recipe! Thank you.. I can always count on you for good recipes, my go-to blog whenever I need some ideas for dinner!

    1. Thank you so much Marianne! Please let me know what you think if you try it.

  6. This looks so so fresh and tempting! Gorgeous colour.

  7. We've always blanched tomatoes to peel them, but will have to look into this peeler. Your sauce sounds delicious and I could go for a plate of the pasta right now (5:41am)

  8. Every cook needs a good tomato sauce recipe and this one should be at the top of everybody's list!

    Jackie @Syrup and Biscuits

  9. Mary, once again you made a "home run". I made this for dinner last evening and served it with a nice big summer salad and french bread. My family LOVED IT! It is so fresh and delicious....YUM. Thanks again for another fabulous recipe!

    1. Thanks Becky! I'm so glad y'all enjoyed it & thank you so much for letting me know!!

  10. We luv fried green tomatoes. But, one of our other favorite way to have them is to chip the green tomato up into small pieces, slice fresh okra, mix okra and green tomatoes together, roll them around in corn meal and fry them. sprinkle with salt

    my husband goes crazy over this

    1. I wish mine would! He won't eat okra either, and although he does eat tomato sauce, he won't eat tomatoes!! Crazy man...

  11. We luv fried green tomatoes. But, one of our other favorite way to have them is to chip the green tomato up into small pieces, slice fresh okra, mix okra and green tomatoes together, roll them around in corn meal and fry them. sprinkle with salt

    my husband goes crazy over this

  12. How can anyone not love fried green tomatoes?!?! This sauce looks so easy & delicious, will have to add it to my "to try" list of recipes.

    1. Sigh.... I know. My husband was raised on meat and potatoes and has an aversion to almost anything vegetable! I have to sneak some of them in LOL!!

  13. I made this with fresh basil from the garden. Didn't peel tomatoes and don't cook with wine. Otherwise, followed the recipe. I used the immersion blender. It was fantastic over thin spaghetti. Will keep making as long as fresh tomatoes and basil last.

  14. OMGOSH!!! this was my 1st attempt at making fresh pasta sauce amazing! the only thing I changed was to use white onions because that is what I had on hand,I was also looking for a tomato soup recipe, but I think this one could work for both!! thank u so much for posting it :)

    1. Thank YOU Cindy for taking the time to come back by and let me know that you enjoyed the sauce. I love this recipe & it warms my heart when somebody takes the time to tell me that they enjoyed it too. I wrote a recipe for homemade fresh tomato soup also - just click here to print it out. Thanks again!

    2. Thank you Mary,I will check that out.
      I would like to can of this sauce, but, because I haven't canned much I'm not sure how to do it, do you have any ideas? Thank you in advance

    3. Hey Cindy! I have a small suburban plot so I don't have enough room to grow many tomato plants & never end up with enough to can. They aren't difficult to can though in some cases, you have to pressure can versus doing a simple water bath & this may be one of them, I'm just not savvy enough in canning knowledge to tell you much.

      You'd also need to also increase this recipe a good bit since it's only written for a single batch. For 2 quart jars or about 4 pints you'd need at least 3 quarts of tomatoes - probably around 20 medium sized tomatoes. I wish I could help more but I just don't do that much canning!

    4. I understand, thank you for the help, hubby and I are going to make some up and freeze it today. thank you again for all your help :)

    5. You're welcome! Most of the canning I have done is the easy stuff LOL!! Maybe one day I'll graduate. :)

  15. Mary, There’s nothing like a homemade tomato sauce. And I’m not going into the “sauce vs. gravy” thing. I did that on a great Italian site from my old stomp’n grounds, NYC. Leave it to an Irishman to start an argument in an Italian neighborhood about their food.
    I like your variations on things. Do you use regular tomatoes or Roma/plum tomatoes? I prefer Roma’s for their meatiness; and that ‘soft skin’ peeler is wonderful for this. Thank you for that recommendation.
    I also like using white wine. I cook with wine all the time, and occasionally I even add it to the food. If I’m making a sauce for, let’s say, a meat or sausage gravy, I’ll use Marsala wine. It’s really good. Traditionally I’d use red pepper flakes, but I definitely need to try my next batch with Slap Ya’ Mama. You really got me hooked on that stuff. However, where I come from, if I put sugar in my sauce, I’d have to go to Confession. Those who are on a diet, or just don’t want it as sweet, might want to try a couple of carrots. I leave them in large pieces so I can fish them out at the end. Regular onions will also lend sweetness to the pot. Even though I love Vidalia’s, they make sauces and soups way too sweet. Great variations and a great recipe. Thank you.
    God bless.

    1. Haha... I try to stay away from those arguments, as you know Chris! On the tomatoes, I use both - whatever is in the garden or freshest smelling in the store.

  16. Oh my goodness, another Deep South Dish home run. I made this sauce exactly as written except I didn't have any wine (dry county) but plenty of chicken stock. I had fresh better boy tomatoes, basil and parsley from the garden. I slit two Italian sausages for each plate. Put them over the spaghetti and sauce, covered everything with grated Parmesan cheese and put the plates in the oven just long enough to melt the cheese. Served with crusty garlic bread and a squash, cucumber, carrot salad, this was just delicious. Puts my doctored up spaghetti sauce from a jar to shame. There is just the wife and I at home now and this makes a good bit of sauce. We'll see how good this sauce works with a meatball sub for lunch tomorrow.

  17. I love this sauce! I would love to can some to have all year long, do you know, would you change anything to make it a canning recipe?
    thank you, Cindy

    1. Hi Cindy! I don't can this, though I have used some of my canned tomatoes to make it! I have no idea what changes would have to be made with ratios and what would need to be added, plus because it contains vegetables, it would need to be pressure canned, rather than a water bath. Sorry I can't help with this one.


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