While there are many people who slave away in the kitchen for hours over a hot stove to perfect their Italian grandmother's tomato sauce, and while it may very well be quite delicious, I prefer a more casual approach to my summertime pasta. This one comes together in about 20 minutes, (depending on your speediness with a knife). It's a light, chunky sauce that lets you know exactly which vegetables you're eating.
Ingredients (for two servings):
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 sprigs fresh oregano (or 1/4 tsp. dried)
- 3/4 c. onion, minced
- 3/4 c. yellow bell pepper, diced
- 1 1/2 c. tomato, diced
- 1/4 tsp. brown sugar
- handful of basil leaves, roughly chopped.
- Add the olive oil to a large skillet and heat over medium high.
- Add the garlic, red pepper flakes, salt, and oregano and saute for about a minute.
- Add the onion and saute until just translucent, about 3 minutes.
- Add the bell pepper, tomato, and brown sugar.
- Continue to cook, stirring occasionally and lightly mashing the tomatoes with a wooden spoon for about 8 minutes until all of the vegetables are tender.
- If you would like a slightly thicker sauce, add about 1 tbsp tomato paste.
- Taste for seasoning, adjusting salt and brown sugar, (sparingly), as needed.
- Just before serving, add the fresh basil and toss another minute.
- Add your pasta to the pan and toss to coat.
I used whole wheat spaghetti as I really like the slightly nutty taste with the freshness of the vegetables. Optionally top you pasta with some good parmesan cheese for serving. As a side I prepared some fresh romano green beans by boiling them in the pasta water for about 2-3 minutes, then tossing them with good quality extra virgin olive oil, salt, and black pepper.