About, oh, five months ago, The Wife and I went to Flour City Pasta in Pittsford and got a little crazy. Amongst the things we bought were a $20 box of braised beef ravioli. In fairness, I didn’t know how much they were until we got the receipt by email. They went into our basement freezer, which I affectionately refer to as the cryovault, and I proceeded to forget about them.
Fast forward to Saturday morning when I asked The Wife what she wanted to do about dinner. She had…nothing. I went searching through the cryovault and found the ravioli. It got me thinking about a sauce. I didn’t want the typical red marinara sauce here, nor did I want a rich alfredo. Bolognese seemed like overkill. Arrabiata would work, but thought it would be too much for the delicate pasta. So, I went looking and ran across The Pioneer Woman’s tomato cream sauce. It’s a simple quick marinara with heavy cream, or a vodka sauce without the booze. It looked like would complement the pasta and allow its filing to drive the bus. The sauce is a perfect weeknight improvisation, going together in about 30 minutes without much drama.
WHAT WORKED: The sauce stayed out of the way. It had all of the tang of a tomato sauce, but didn’t have an overwhelming onion, garlic or tomato flavor. It provided a proper base for the ravioli to stand out.
WHAT DIDN’T: Me. I forgot the basil. Shopping without a list is problematic like tha.
WHAT DID THE WIFE SAY: Nothing about the food. The Kid was acting like a three-year-old during dinner.
WILL IT MAKE ANOTHER APPEARANCE: Almost certainly.
Pasta with Tomato Cream Sauce
Adapted from The Pioneer Woman
Note: This sauce can be halved or doubled, depending on your needs. I halved her original recipe and added some diced tomatoes for texture.)
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
- 1 tbsp. unsalted butter
- 1 whole small onion, finely diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 15 oz. can plain tomato sauce
- 1 15 oz. can diced or petite diced tomatoes in juice, well drained
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 1/2 tbsp. granulated sugar, to taste
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1/4 cup grated Parmagiano-Reggiano or Pecorino Romano cheese
- Handful of fresh basil, chopped
- 8 oz. pasta, cooked per manufacturer’s directions
Heat butter and oil over medium heat. Add onions and garlic and saute for 2 to 3 minutes. Pour in tomato sauce, diced tomatoes and add salt, pepper, and sugar to taste. Stir and cook over low heat for 25 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Remove from heat and stir in cream. Add cheese to taste, then check seasonings. Stir in pasta and chopped basil and serve immediately.