Saturday, January 22, 2011

Day 341- Cheap and Easy Pasta Sauce

I'm trying to empty my pantry (and trust me when I say it's getting really low), so creative meals are starting to come out. I'm missing some major parts of some recipes (I've got peas, but no potatoes for pea and potato curry), so I need to either figure out if I *really* need all the parts I think I do.

I'm pretty sure the curry'd be fine with no potatoes, after all, but fried rice might not work without rice...

Anyway, yesterday I was thinking about what I had, what I wanted to use up, and what I felt like actually cooking. I even made a list with ideas for the week. Picked up a bag of flour (can't go too long without one...) and got to work.

Actually, the bag of flour has nothing to do with pasta and sauce. I already *had* pasta, so it's not like I needed to make that. I just like having it in the kitchen.

The sauce came about because, well, I have 3/4ths of a bottle of red wine to use up. And a can of tomato paste. And italian seasoning. And the world's biggest onion (softball sized, honestly). So I decided red sauce would work with my super cheap pasta.

*this* sauce is:

  • 1T oil
  • 1/4 C chopped onion
  • 2 cloves diced garlic
  • 1C red wine
  • shake or three of ital. seasoning
  • 1T tomato paste, or more to taste
  • water if needed
  • salt to taste
Start at the top of this list, while the pasta cooks. You want to sweat and lightly brown the onions, and get the garlic just a little roasty. Then add the wine and seasoning, and stir. Cook off the booze. stir in the tomato paste and water if you need it, and simmer until the pasta's done. Toss the pasta in the sauce and serve. This *should* be enough for 8oz of pasta (4 servings...).

The most expensive ingredient is the wine, obviously. If you don't have any, or you don't drink, you can leave it out, just use extra water. A bit of balsamic vinegar could sub- not more than a tablespoon or so, about a small glug. If you have tomato sauce or whole tomatoes instead, use those, just cook it down a little more and leave out the water. It's about 28 cents before adding the wine, after the wine depends on how much the bottle cost.

Tasted ok, though. It would have been perfect with chewy, crispy bits of fried tofu, but you can't have everything, right?


  1. Great tip for wine - when you have less than a glass left, pour it into an empty ice tray. That way, you have frozen cubes of wine to toss into sauce whenever you need them. Won't help with the moving, but it's a pretty cool thing I think. I'm going to try it with herbs next.

  2. Somehow, wine never seems to last *quite* that long here. It's a super tip, though.