Thrifty Whitties: Quick, tasty marinara sauce

Olivia Jones

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Maybe you have a dinner date coming up, a chance to impress upon your lady or gent of choice that you are fabulously date-able; maybe you want to feed 20 people for about 20 dollars; or maybe you just want to cook some pasta. Whatever your reason, my Italian family recipe is cheap, quick and oh-so-simple. This recipe is easy to be creative with, so feel free to substitute and experiment as you wish. It feeds approximately four people of average appetite.

Ingredients:

1 lb. of pasta (whichever type you prefer)

1 28-oz. can of whole stewed tomatoes

A few cloves of garlic

Half an onion

Olive oil

Salt and pepper

Recommended Ingredients:

Fresh herb of your choice, such as basil or oregano

Red pepper flakes are my preferred addition, as they liven up even a plain sauce

Fresh vegetables, such as carrots and zucchini

Fresh greens, such as Swiss chard, spinach or kale

Directions:

Fill one medium-sized pot with salted water and put it on the stove on high heat. While your water is boiling, prepare the rest of your ingredients: dice the garlic and add it to a smaller pot with some olive oil; chop half of your onion (use the whole one if you like onions) and chop up whatever other veggies or greens you might want to add; open the can of stewed tomatoes and pour the contents into a large bowl. Make sure you have washed your hands. Now for the fun part: stick your hands in the bowl, grab the tomatoes and squish them. Once you have thoroughly squished all of the tomatoes, remove any remaining large chunks of tomato fiber.

Now you can start cooking. In a smaller pot, heat enough olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Add the diced garlic. Sauté, stirring for a few seconds until it becomes fragrant, and then add the onions. Now is a good time to add the carrots or any hard veggies you like. Cook the onions until they become translucent, and then add the tomato mixture. You can take it easy on the stirring now. Add the red pepper flakes to taste if you want a little spice, or whatever fresh herbs you fancy. Finish up with salt and pepper to taste, and leave the pan on a medium-low heat.

By now your water is probably boiling, so add the pasta and stir. If you are cooking spaghetti with Swiss chard or another green, add it to the boiling water with the pasta. Once the pasta is cooked (check the box for the appropriate cooking time), strain it and add it to a serving bowl or back into the pot. Pour over the marinara sauce, stir and serve.

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