pasta sauce

Photo by Rachael Piorko

Pasta. A staple of college life. This particular dish is known as the easy dinner option that can be ready in a matter of minutes with the aid of some store bought pasta sauce. Unless you came from an Italian family like I did or had a particularly ambitious parent, chances are you didn’t grow up with homemade marinara on your penne noodles. Whether you have carried on the tradition or you buy it for convince sake, I’m guessing there are jars of Prego or Ragu in your cabinets right now. I’m here to tell you that you don’t have to settle. You deserve better.

Below is a recipe for homemade marinara that can be made in the time it takes pasta to boil. Opt for the fresh ingredients for an unbeatable flavor.


Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: About 25 minutes

Servings: 2

pasta sauce

Photo credit Rachel Piorko

1 can of whole peeled plum tomatoes or four fresh tomatoes of your choice (I used fresh Roma tomatoes)
2 fresh garlic cloves
A few fresh basil leaves or 1/2 tbsp of dried
1/2  large onion
1/2 a bunch parsley
2 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 tablespoon salt, add more to taste
1/2 tablespoon black pepper, freshly ground is preferable
1/2 tablespoon red pepper *optional*
2 servings of pasta of your choice (I used brown rice fusilli – a great gluten free and whole grain option)


1. Heat oil in medium sauce pan.

2. Chop onion into thin slices, add to pan and stir frequently until slices are translucent.

3. While onion is cooking, chop garlic into small slices and crush tomatoes in a large bowl. Crushing them with your hands is the most efficient, but you could also use a fork or potato masher.

3. Put on a pot for the pasta. When water boils, add pasta to water.

4. Add garlic to pan. Cook for about 2 minutes string frequently.

5. Add tomatoes and spices to pan, stir frequently.

6. Finely chop parsley, add to pan.

7. Stir everything until the sauce thickens a bit, about 5 minutes. Add additional spices to taste.

8. When pasta and sauce are done cooking, drain pasta and mix with sauce. Serve hot.


pasta sauce

Photo by Rachel Piorko