Pasta sauce is one of the most forgiving recipes. It’s easy to make corrections if you make any mistakes and it’s something that’s great reheated for later in the week. If you’re like me and sometimes have zero time to cook, all you have to do is throw this in the microwave for a minute with pre-made pasta and you’re good to go.

For my recipe, I suggest using a bucatini for the noodle, but if that’s not your jam it’s cool, just use your favorite pasta instead. I wouldn’t necessarily suggest any stuffed pasta or something too heavy like gnocchi since this sauce is pretty substantial, but it’s up to you.

smoked-bucatini-2

Image credit: honestlyyum

Serves: 4-7 people or just yourself…

Pasta

Buccatini (See above, or any other types you want, bucatini is my go-to)

Instructions for the pasta

Bring 4 quarts water to a boil in a large pot:

  • 1) Throw pasta into to the pot when you get to step 9 of your pasta sauce steps
  • 2) Follow package cooking directions depending or on how done you like your pasta
  • 3) Drain pasta

Let’s get saucy

Sauce ingredients

  • 1/2 package hot Italian sausage (You can vary this depending on preference: turkey versus pork, sweet versus hot, or you can skip it all together)
  • Olive oil
  • 1 large garlic clove thinly sliced
  • 1/2 large yellow onion chopped (see how to chop an onion video)
  • 1 5.5oz can tomato paste
  • 1 28oz can crushed tomato (make sure it’s not salted)
  • 1.5 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons salt (to start)
  • 1 tablespoon pepper (to start)

1) Heat your skillet or a large deep pan (3- 4 inch sides) over medium-high heat for about 2 minutes.

2) Depending on the type of meat you get, if the sausage is in casing, you want to squeeze the sausage out from the casing into the pan; about 2 ½ links worth. If it’s just packed like ground beef, then just plop half that meat brick into the pan. The rest can be frozen for later.

3) Start breaking up the meat as it browns so that it begins to crumble. Cook over medium-high heat until piece look lightly browned and have zero pink throughout the meat, roughly 4-6 minutes. Remove from heat and transfer to a bowl.

4) In the same pan, add about 3-4 tablespoons olive oil. Since the pan will still be hot, it will only need to heat for about a minute.

5) Throw in the sliced up garlic and let that sauté for about 1-2 minutes until lightly browned. This is infusing the oil in the pan with garlic flavor.

6) Throw in the onion and brown as well for about 3-4 minutes.

7) Take the bowl holding the browned meat and dump into the onion and garlic mix.

8) Add in tomato paste. You want to integrate this well with all other ingredients in the pan. This is where the infused oil comes in to play. The oil will help cut the tomato tang out of the sauce. Heat through for about 2 minutes.

9) Add crushed tomatoes, Oregano, and salt and pepper to mixture and stir until everything is well integrated and bubbling.

PS This is where you want to start boiling your pasta

10) Turn down heat to low and let simmer for about 8-9 minutes. This is where you want to start taste-testing the sauce. Don’t be afraid to add salt for flavor. I suggest only two teaspoons to begin, but seasoning is extremely important and based upon personal preference, so feel free to salt and pepper to how you like it. After about ten minutes the flavors should be ready for serving.

11) Take cooked pasta and put in a bowl. Top with sauce and cheese of your preference. Enjoy!

Now that you’ve got the basics down, feel free to change up the ingredients. Different vegetables and meat or lack there of can change the taste and texture. Experimentation is key to finding out your favorite sauce. Personally I like adding roasted bell peppers and zucchini to the mix.

Happy eating!

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