Tomato sauce is one of the easiest things for college students to make because it’s pretty hard to screw up. And let’s be honest, sauce from a jar is pretty bland. Thankfully, my dad always made his own pasta sauce using a recipe passed down through his Sicilian family for decades. He’d make a huge batch at least once a month, and we’d still be eating pasta four nights later. Since we had it so frequently, I didn’t really think I’d miss it all that much when I got to college, but even after just one jarred brand, I found myself longing for the pizzazz of my dad’s recipe.

I had resisted making my own because I couldn’t find the time and I thought it would be too expensive, but I was just making excuses. With a little modification, the recipe took me just 2 hours cook time and 30 minutes of prep and cost less than $10.  Now if only we had the time to make our own pasta…


Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 30 minutes

Servings: about 10


1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
5 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 onion, chopped
1 28-0z can crushed tomatoes
2 6-oz cans tomato paste
2 tablespoons basil
2 tablespoons parsley
2 tablespoons oregano
1 tablespoon crushed red pepper
2 bay leaves

pasta sauce

Photo courtesy of Parsa Lotfi.


1. Heat the olive oil in a large pot over with the stove on medium. Meanwhile, mince the garlic and chop the onion, then add them to the pot. Sauté for about 10 minutes.

pasta sauce

Photo courtesy of Parsa Lotfi.

2. Add the crushed tomatoes and tomato paste with equal parts water. Stir until everything is well-mixed.

pasta sauce

Photo courtesy of Parsa Lotfi.

3. Stir in basil, parsley, oregano, red pepper, and bay leaves.

pasta sauce

Photo courtesy of Parsa Lotfi.

4. Turn the stove on low heat and let the sauce simmer for 2 hours, stirring occasionally.


Photo courtesy of  Parsa Lotfi.

5. Cook your favorite pasta to al dente and top with your sauce and parmesan cheese. Benissimo!

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