Recently I put up a few pints of Marinara sauce, and in the past I’ve made rich dark “gravy” thick with meat that sat burbling  for hours on a cold winter day.  I love the rich dark silky sauce and I will never tire of it.

However, this is the time of being flush with tomatoes. With more than I can eat on salads,  have time to can, or find any victims to take them off my hands, I am looking for quick ways to use them up.

As opposed to the patient and sophisticated deep bass notes of a long simmered sauce, this sauce is brassy, loud and fresh as nineteen-year-old sailor on his first shore leave.

Add a handful of pungent basil fresh from the garden, a sprig of oregano and a couple cloves of garlic roughly chopped and you have the makings of a quickly prepared, brightly flavored weeknight meal.

No careful measuring here, this is cooking by the seat of your pants, Pinot Noir in a coffee cup, roll up your sleeves, put Sinatra on the music player. Add a salad and enjoy!

Quick Tomato Sauce and Pappardelle

1lb ripe tomatoes cored and roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic crushed then chopped
1 ripe jalapeno minced (optional)
Pinch crushed red pepper (optional)
1 handful fresh basil leaves – about a dozen – shredded or chiffonade
1 sprig fresh oregano
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
Big pinch salt
¼ cup gated parmesan divided
½ cup + of cooking water
Salt and pepper to taste
½ lb dried long pasta – I prefer Tagliatelle or Pappardelle


  1. Prepare  pasta according to directions
  2. While water comes to a boil and pasta cooks…

  3. In a large saucepan over medium high heat, add the olive oil and heat until shimmering
  4. Add the chopped tomatoes, (jalapeno and red pepper) and toss to coat with oil,  add big pinch of salt
  5. Cook, stirring often until tomatoes soften – about 3-5 minutes
  6. Add garlic, basil and oregano, stir and turn heat down to medium
  7. Continue cooking and stirring often until sauce starts to thicken, reduce heat to medium low
  8. Test for seasoning, adjust salt and pepper to taste.
  9. When pasta is just about cooked remove from cooking water and add to tomato mixture. Add ½ + cup of cooking water (add more or less according to how much liquid you want)  and combine, tossing until pasta is done.

Put sauced pasta in a bowl, top with parmesan, enjoy!

Until next time, Eat Well & Keep Digging!