It’s Not Tomato Season? Try My Year-Round Tomato Sauce for Pasta

Tomatoes on the Vine! (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)
Tomatoes on the Vine!  (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)
Tomatoes on the Vine! (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Some evenings when I get home from work, I don’t want to spend a lot of time preparing dinner. Usually, pasta is a simple quick dish without a lot of work. It’s not always tomato season, and I might be out of my Roasted Tomato Sauce, so I may have to improvise for a fast-cooking and tasty sauce. That’s when my Year-Round Tomato Sauce comes in handy. With the addition of some dried or fresh basil, it tastes like summer.

Make a double or triple-batch of this sauce and freeze some in appropriately-sized containers to suit your family’s appetite levels. It heats up quickly, and still tastes freshly made. You can always add more basil after reheating.

If you’re wondering why I’m adding maple syrup or agave syrup to my tomato sauce recipes, it’s because the manufacturers have mostly stopped adding high fructose corn syrup or other sweeteners to their canned tomato sauces. It’s completely up to you whether you choose to add sweetness, or not. I prefer a bit of sugar to cut the acidity of the tomatoes.

Year-Round Tomato Sauce over Beef Ravioli
Year-Round Tomato Sauce over Beef Ravioli


From the kitchen of A Food Lover’s Delight….

“Year-Round” Tomato Sauce for Pasta


1 can (28 oz) crushed tomatoes
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 cup dry red wine
3/4 T maple syrup or agave syrup
1 T dried basil or 1/4 c fresh basil, chopped
1 t crushed red pepper flakes
salt and pepper to taste


1. Combine the tomatoes, garlic, red wine, and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat.
2. When mixture comes to a boil, lower heat, cover, and simmer for 10 mins, stirring occasionally.
3. Add the basil and crushed red pepper flakes.
4. Cook another 5 minutes, uncovered.
5. Season with salt and pepper.

Makes about 2 cups of sauce. Serves 4 tossed with or served over hot pasta. Offer freshly grated Parmesan cheese if you are a cheese lover.

Variations: Use oregano instead of basil for a different flavor. Stir in 1 T unsalted butter before tossing with pasta for a richer sauce. Toss with grilled vegetables and linguine for a hearty meal. Use as a light pizza sauce.

Basil comes in many flavors. Add some to your recipes. (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)
Basil comes in many flavors. Add some to your recipes. (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals) (Copyright Adroit Ideals 2013)

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