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Easy Recipe: Basic Tomato Sauce

There are very few things that our two youngest children will eat without a battle . . . even pasta. They love pasta, but only like it prepared one or two ways. That can get a little boring for the rest of the family. We would love for every family dinner to be enjoyable quality time rather than time spent battling over eating (or not eating rather). We know that our children will be growing up and becoming busier very soon, perhaps too busy to eat dinner all together every night. That is why we are so appreciative of the pasta recipes by Chef Mario Batali offered in Barilla's Share the Table program. They offer us family-friendly alternatives to the same old pasta recipes.

Although all Chef Batali's recipes looked delicious, we had to go for the most basic one. We figured there would be less reasons for our children to fuss if we went with the Basic Tomato Sauce. We did change a couple of things to make it more suited to our family though. Instead of Spanish onions, we used yellow onions. We also added a tiny bit of sugar, which is not called for in Chef Batali's recipe.

Recipe: Basic Tomato Sauce

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 yellow onion (or Spanish onion), diced
4 cloves of garlic, sliced (or 2 Tbsp minced garlic)
3 Tbsp fresh thyme, chopped (or 1 Tbsp dried thyme)
1/2 medium-sized carrot, finely shredded
(2) 28oz cans of whole tomatoes
2 tsp sugar
salt, to taste

Step 1. Heat olive oil in 3-quart saucepan over medium heat.

Step 2. Add onions and garlic. Cook about 10 minutes or until onions are soft.

Step 3. Add thyme and carrot. Cook about 5 minutes or until shredded carrot is very soft.

Step 4. Add the tomatoes along with the tomato juice. Bring the contents to a boil, lower heat, and simmer for about 30 minutes.

Step 5. Remove from heat and stir in the sugar.

Step 6. Add salt if needed.

Serve over your favorite pasta. We used Barilla Spaghetti and added meatballs. This sauce does have a lot of juice, so you may want to serve it with a slotted spoon. I found that this sauce is a lot less messy for children to eat than sauces made with tomato puree or crushed tomatoes.

We thought this tomato sauce was extremely good. It has very few ingredients and is fairly simple and quick to make compared to sauce that takes hours to prepare. The next time we make this, I think we will opt for dried thyme. Although the fresh chopped thyme was tasty, we really did not like picking the hard stems out.


To encourage families to make the most out of family dinners, Barilla is offering you two contests . . .

Barilla's Pasta Friday Sweepstakes - Every week you will have a chance to win a Free Pasta Meal.

Barilla's Mealtime Moments Contest - Every week you will have a chance to win a Free Month's Worth of Groceries.

Visit to find lots of family-friendly recipes, including those by Chef Batali, along with some great Family Dinner Advice.

I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour campaign by Mom Central on behalf of Barilla and received products necessary to facilitate my candid review.