Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Pasta with Zucchini and Easy 5-Minute Sauce

Ingredients for our favorite easy meal
One of my family's favorite meals for nights when I need to get supper on the table fast is pasta.  Throw in a vegetable or two, perhaps some meat, and we can even make it a complete meal if there is no time to make side dishes.

A couple years ago, I noticed that almost all of the jarred sauces available at the store came with high fructose corn syrup and a bunch of other ingredients I didn't want or need in pasta sauce.  I tried a few different recipes to make my own sauce, but most of them required a long time to simmer.  Then, I discovered 5-minute sauce.  Not only is it fast, we all like it better than any other sauce we have ever tried!  (My 10-year old regularly tries to lick his plate clean when I make this sauce.)  I regularly send leftovers of this pasta dish in Thermoses with my kids in their school lunch.

On this day, I diced up two leftover grilled Italian sausages and added them as well

Pasta with Zucchini and Easy 5-Minute Sauce

1 lb pasta
1 medium-large zucchini/yellow squash, cut in into 1/2 inch cubes
2 TBS extra virgin olive oil
1/8-1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp kosher salt
3 medium cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 28-ounce can of crushed tomatoes
1/2 tsp. dried basil or 1 TBS chopped fresh basil
1/2 tsp. dried oregano or 1/2 TBS chopped fresh oregano

Put a large pot of water over high heat for the pasta.  Then, chop up the garlic and get the ingredients ready.  When the water is boiling, add the pasta and cook according to package directions.  Add the diced zucchini to the pasta pot during the last 4-5 minutes of cooking.

While the pasta is cooking, combine the olive oil, red pepper flakes, salt, and garlic in a medium (3 qt) saucepan.  Stir while you heat up the saucepan over medium-high heat. Saute for a minute or so until everything is fragrant.  [If you are using dried herbs, stir them in at this point.]  

Mix in the tomatoes and heat to a gentle simmer. [If you are using fresh herbs, add them at this point.]  Turn burner to low and keep the sauce hot until the pasta is finished.

Drain the pasta and zucchini and toss with the sauce in a large serving bowl.

*Note:  If you use the Trader Joes Tortellini pictured, it only needs 12 minutes to cook (not the 16-18 minutes listed on the instructions.  I really wish they would get that fixed.  If you cook it for 16 minutes, you will have pasta mush.

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