Sometimes you just need that quick weeknight meal that is also delicious. One of the easiest things to do is make a sauce that can easily top pasta, rice, or quinoa. And this tomato cream sauce fits the bill perfectly. It comes together quickly and can source different things from the pantry. It will also easily pair with nearly anything else for a full meal.
A simple, straightforward sauce that you can simmer on the stovetop and keep on there until the pasta and the rest of the meal is done. This is a creamy, savory sauce with a tiny kick of heat at the end.
My wife absolutely loves this sauce – it is one of her favorites. So I have made it many times in a lot of subtly different ways. This version is the best combination of herbs and flavors to make a quick sauce that can top almost anything. It also smells so amazing while cooking.
Pair this sauce with some of your own homemade pasta for a meal that is truly fresh and scratch-made.
From the Pantry?
This is one of those recipes for which I typically have everything on hand in the pantry or fridge. Because not everything needs to be fresh to make the recipe. Use the fresh stuff you have, and mix in some dried or canned items to finish it off. Whatever is on hand will work.
The basic steps are sautéing garlic, shallot, and tomato. Then adding in the herbs and continuing the sauté. And finally, pouring in the milk and cream and letting it simmer to perfection.
For the tomatoes, you can just as easily use fresh tomatoes as canned, diced ones. In fact, I have often made this with a can of diced fire-roasted tomatoes. It adds a bit of a different flavor. And it is actually faster to use canned tomatoes because you don’t have to cut the tomatoes yourself. Fresh tomatoes will give you a brighter, fresher flavor.
The same goes for all of the herbs. Use dried herbs if you don’t have any fresh ones on hand. But, when substituting dried herbs, use only half of the amount of what the recipe calls for. Dried herbs are typically more powerful and concentrated in flavor, so putting in too much could overpower other flavors.
It is easiest to have everything chopped and ready to add to the sauce before you start cooking it. Then you can just dump things in at the right time and stir.
Using the Tomato Cream Sauce
Not only is this tomato cream sauce easy, it also gives you lots of options. Mix and match this sauce with any of the following – or anything else you think up. It’ll make a tasty combo to round out a whole meal.
- Shrimp – Quickly pan-fry some salted and peppered shrimp for a super-fast protein addition. I love pouring the finished sauce out into a serving bowl and then using that pan to fry the shrimp. It helps add a bit of the sauce’s flavor into everything.
- Chicken – I recommend marinating and cooking some whole chicken breasts to top the pasta, rice, or quinoa. Grilled chicken is especially delicious with some of that added flame-grilled flavor.
- Chickpeas – Use canned chickpeas for an ultra-fast preparation, otherwise make sure you soak and boil the dry chickpeas well in advance. Then just toss them together with the sauce – or even simmer them with the sauce for the last few minutes of cooking.
- Pasta – Any kind and any variety will do, but a shape that has some nooks and crannies to catch the sauce makes for a more delicious meal in my opinion.
- Rice – White or brown rice will almost soak up the sauce – so you may need to make a double-batch to be prepared for that.
- Quinoa – Rice’s healthier big brother.
- Garlic Bread – Garlic, butter, parsley, bread. Cheese optional. Toast it in the oven.
- Caesar Salad – A versatile side for many dishes, but here it works great as a contrast to the tomato-based sauce.
- Sautéed Zucchini – Basically slice up some zucchini and toss it in a pan with some fat and a few herbs or spices to amp up the flavor. Here’s a good baseline sauteed zucchini recipe.
So go ahead and pair this sauce with all your favorites for a delicious weeknight meal.
Easy Tomato Cream Sauce for PastaCourse: SauceDifficulty: Easy
A simmering tomato cream sauce with a hint of spice that pairs with everything you have on hand
3 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/3 cup chopped shallot (or red onion)
1 and 3/4 cup diced tomatoes
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon rosemary, minced
1 teaspoon basil, minced
1 tablespoon parsley, minced
1/2 teaspoon thyme, minced
1/2 tsp to 1 tsp dried red pepper flakes
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup milk
- Chop, mince and measure everything to have ready before getting started with the cooking
- Melt the butter in a wide pan over medium heat
- Add the garlic and shallot to the pan and sauté about 3 minutes until fragrant
- Mix in the tomatoes and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally
- Add the white wine vinegar, rosemary, basil, parsley, thyme, and red pepper flakes to the sauce, stir to combine and cook another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally
- Pour in the cream and milk, thoroughly stir to combine, and bring it to a simmer
- Reduce the heat to medium-low and let it simmer to the desired thickness of the sauce with infrequent stirring, about 10 minutes
- If using dried herbs, half the amount that the recipe calls for