I’m always making pasta for a romantic date night at home. It’s not only easy, but also inexpensive and never fails to make my husband happy. Pasta is romantic in my mind. I think of lady and the tramp when it’s just my husband and I enjoying a pasta dinner together. I love a simple pasta more than anything. When you use fresh quality ingredients, you really don’t need much to make magic happen. This pomodoro sauce is only a handful of ingredients and takes less than 20 minutes to pull together. How convenient right? Chances are, you’ll already have the ingredients on hand. I use San Marzano tomatoes to create the luscious sauce that pulls the dish together. San Marzano tomatoes are probably the best canned tomatoes you can buy for a sauce. They grow in the best conditions and have the most balanced flavor. Any other canned tomatoes won’t have the same acidity and taste. So San Marzano’s are a must when creating this dish. Once you open the can, simply blend them in your blender till smooth.
The sauce starts by sautéing garlic and onion in olive oil. They are cooked just until the onions become translucent and you can smell the aroma as you stand above the pan. Next comes the tomatoes, spices and a touch of cream. If you’re trying to save some calories, you can definitely omit the cream. I love to add it for a more full body textured sauce but it’s not absolutely necessary. Once the sauce is bubbling, you simply add in some fresh basil and Parmesan cheese. Mix in the pasta and a touch of the water it boiled in… and that’s basically it! I told you it was simple. When dinner comes together in less than 20 minutes… you really can’t beat that.
This pasta will go great with a simple Caesar salt and a fresh baguette from your local bakery. Check out my caesar dressing in my kale pasta salad (linked below). I use this dressing every time I make a Caesar side salad. It’s to die for, I promise!
Serve this to your honey this Valentine’s Day, Friday night date at home or for an average weekday family dinner. It’s a dish that is very versatile and can be served in any situation.
Prep time: 3 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
Total time: 18 minutes
- 1/2 lb. rigatoni pasta, cooked in salted water
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1/4 cup yellow onion, minced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 28 oz can San Marzano tomatoes, blended till smooth
- 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1/4 tsp granulated sugar
- 2 tbsp heavy cream
- 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
- 1/2 cup fresh basil, cut into smaller pieces
- 2 tbsp butter, salted
- Reserved pasta water
- Cook pasta to al dente in salted water and reserve 1/2 cup pasta water. Do not rinse pasta.
- While pasta cooks, start the sauce. Begin by heating a tall sided large pan to medium heat. Add in olive oil, onion and garlic. Sauté for about 3 minutes until aromatic. Do not burn garlic.
- Add in blended San Marzano tomatoes, red pepper flakes, salt, sugar and heavy cream. Stir together and bring to a soft boil.
- Add in cooked pasta once softly boiling and mix together with the sauce. While the heat is still on, sprinkle in parmesan cheese and basil. Mix and turn heat off. Slowly add in a small amount of the reserved pasta water. This will loosen up the sauce and make it a bit thinner.
- Add in the butter and mix to allow it to melt.
- Serve immediately with extra Parmesan cheese and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.