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World's Fastest Tomato Sauce


Keep a bottle of best-quality tomato sauce on hand for one of those inevitable no-time-for-dinner moments. Check the label: premium sauces don't contain preservatives and the ingredients usually are tomatoes, olive oil, fresh garlic, onions, and herbs. It should have a thick and chunky texture--not thin and watery--or your pasta will be bland and boring. The brand I use has no salt, but if your brand does, be sure to adjust the amount accordingly. I like to add a little butter and extra seasonings to enhance the flavor further. Feel free to add olives, chopped anchovies, or just about anything you like.

1 bottle (16 ounces) best-quality tomato sauce
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano or basil
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, coarsely chopped


Combine tomato sauce, butter, oregano, salt, pepper, crushed red pepper, and Parmesan cheese in pasta serving bowl. Set aside to warm to room temperature or, preferably, place the bowl (be sure it's heatproof) over the pasta pot to warm the ingredients and melt the butter while heating the water. Once the water comes to a boil, remove bowl and set aside.

Cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until al dente. Drain pasta well and immediately add to sauce in bowl. Sprinkle with basil and toss. Serve at once with extra Parmesan cheese.

SERVES 4 to 6.

RECOMMENDED PASTA: 1 pound fettuccine, penne rigate, linguine, or spaghetti

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