, , ,

Last night I found myself wanting pasta with my baked chicken, so I scrounged through the cupboards and the fridge to see what kind of sauce I could make. There was a big can of tomato sauce I bought on sale recently and several veggies. Chunky marinara it was!

Just so you know–this should cook for AT LEAST three hours, so don’t start it when you get hungry.


  • Large can of tomato sauce (or two regular sized cans)
  • Whole veggies cut in 1″ chunks. I had tomato, onion and bell pepper. Also good with squash, zucchini, green chile, olives….mmmmmm….
  • Diced fresh herbs if you have them: basil, oregano, garlic. Dried herbs and garlic powder if you don’t.
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • The secret ingredient in good Italian sauces–nutmeg to taste. In this size dish and depending on the number of veggies, about one eighth teaspoon

1. Pour the tomato sauce and a little bit of water to clean the can into a large saucepan or skillet. Add the veggies, herbs, salt and pepper, and nutmeg. If too salty, you can cut the flavor with a little bit of sugar as you cook. I needed about a teaspoon last night.

2. Heat on medium until it just begins to boil, stirring frequently. Reduce to the lowest possible heat, put a lid on the saucepan or skillet, and let it cook, cook, cook. Stir it occasionally and taste it occasionally to see if it needs more of any spice or herb.

3. About the time you put the pasta in the boiling water, give the sauce a final stir, turn the heat off, and leave covered until you’re ready to serve it on the pasta. It will set to a nice consistency and the flavors and temperature will be just about perfect at the moment the pasta is ready to serve.

This is a very simple marinara, and it does take a bit of commitment, but it’s worth it.