Pantry pasta sauce

I’m a big fan of making everything food-wise from scratch as far as possible. My mother is regularly over-awed by this, but really, there’s not much to it once you get a bit of practice in. Multitasking is also a good skill.

This pasta sauce is not my most used recipe, but it is really useful. It involves nothing more than ingredients from the pantry, which makes it very handy in the few days before payday, or when getting home from a few days away to an empty fridge and an emptier belly. It’s quick as well. Put on a pot of water to boil, get your dried pasta of choice out of the press along with a few other ingredients – including two of my five favourites from yesterday’s post.

First, some herbs and spices.


Moving anti-clockwise from the yellow pile…

One teaspoon marigold boullion powder

One teaspoon dried garlic granules

Half a teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper

One teaspoon granulated sugar (this is just supermarket golden granulated, and is unrefined so no bone char)

One teaspoon dried onion granules

(middle) One teaspoon dried oregano.

If you’re using the low salt version of the boullion, I’d also add a pinch of salt.


Take a tin of chopped tomatoes and pour into a saucepan. Swish a couple of tablespoons of water around in the can to get the last of the tomatoey goodness out. Add all of the seasonings above.

The sugar is a trick of my grandmothers, and is a great idea for any recipe involving tinned tomatoes, as it helps neutralise any over acidity or metallic aftertaste, as well as bringing out the flavour of the tomatoes.

Give everything a stir (it will look rather unattractive) then turn on the heat. Bring the heat up until the first couple of bubbles pop on the surface, then lower the flame. Tomatoes are much better off at a low simmer – bringing them to the boil does not-very-nice things to the taste of the final sauce. Give it another stir; the seasonings should all be melting in nicely.

After five minutes, your pot of water should be at a rolling boil. Add salt and your pasta.

About 3 minutes before the pasta is cooked (check packet directions), turn off the heat under the sauce, give a final stir and break out the stick blender.


Give it a quick whoosh (“whoosh” being a technical term, of course), leaving chunks if that’s your bag. Don’t be tempted to use the highest setting. Hot tomato sauce can spatter a lot, and that stuff will burn your skin and stain your clothing. Stir well and then taste. Adjust seasoning, then clap a lid on it to keep warm.

Drain pasta, apply sauce, nom.


This is my finished sauce, which is cooling down in a very unsexy lock n lock tub, and will be turned into part of a lasagne for tomorrow night. If just pouring over pasta, I’d say this is enough sauce for 3-4 people, unless you like your pasta swimming in sauce.

Homemade dinner on the table in under 20 minutes, under two euro. Take that, Jamie!


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