We eat Italian food quite a bit in our house – our kids love pasta, and even our pickiest child, Jackson, eats it without complaint, so it’s an easy choice for dinner. If you’ve got small kids I’m sure you can appreciate the glorious rarity of a dinner without whining. Pasta gives us that, so we especially love it! And when we’re having pasta, we typically either make pesto sauce or this lovely tomato basil pasta sauce.
I love this recipe because you can make it quickly or simmer it all day long, and either way it’s delicious. I typically make this on a weeknight after getting home from work and it’s easy to have it ready by the time our pasta and meatballs are done.
Of course, I also love tomato basil pasta sauce because of one key word - basil. Fresh basil is seriously one of my favorite ingredients ever, and it gives this sauce an amazing flavor and freshness that lets you instantly know it’s homemade.
Carrots and onion are key players in this sauce, too – they’re sautéd until tender and they provide a slightly sweet flavor base to the sauce, along with giving it a little thickness.
I like to make a double batch of tomato basil pasta sauce. You can freeze it to have on hand for later, but we usually eat pasta leftovers for a day or two, and then I take the remaining sauce and heat it on the stove, add heavy cream, and - voila! - we have a creamy tomato basil soup that we adore serving alongside grilled cheese sandwiches.
One note: If you don’t have an immersion blender, you’ll need to carefully pour your sauce into a blender to get it nice and smooth before serving. I’d highly recommend getting an immersion blender, though – I love mine for sauces, soups, and smoothies, and they’re pretty inexpensive.
- ¼ cup butter
- 1½ cups carrot, chopped
- 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
- 1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
- 1 28 oz. can diced tomatoes
- 1 15 oz. can tomato sauce
- 1 6 oz. can tomato paste
- 14-16 fresh basil leaves
- salt & pepper to taste
- In a stock pot or dutch oven, melt butter on low and then add diced carrots and chopped onions. Let simmer until tender and until the onions are translucent - you can cover the pot to help the vegetables soften more quickly.
- Add all four cans of tomato products and mix well; add salt and pepper to taste.
- Let mixture simmer for at least 10 minutes, or as long as you'd like.
- About 5-10 minutes prior to serving, add fresh basil leaves.
- Use an immersion blender to blend the sauce into a nice smooth consistency, OR carefully pour the sauce into a blender and pulse until the sauce is smooth.