In the Kitchen: No-Cook Tomato Sauce

There is a common misconception that homemakers are wizards in the kitchen (I actually am of course, but that’s besides the point). When someone says “homemaker” do you picture the June Cleavers and Betty Crockers of the world, whisk in hand, whipping up a tasty something that’s sure to blow your mind? Newsflash: we’re not all kitchen wizards. Sure, some of us are talented enough to think outside the brownie mix box, but there are also some of us for whom boiling water may present its challenges. Regardless of your culinary finesse, every homemaker should have a select set of crowd-pleasing recipes in his or her arsenal (feeding faces, of course, is an essential part of our homemaking repetoire).

If there is any one recipe that we face-feeders should know, it’s no-cook tomato sauce. I will now sing its praises: it’s quick, it’s inexpensive, it’s a surefire hit, it’s easy peasy lemon squeezy. You can’t really screw it up, it doesn’t require slaving over a hot stove, it’s a good base recipe to experiment with and it’s adaptable to the pickiest of palettes. During the summer, when tomatoes are in their prime, you’ll find this dish being served (at least) once a week in our home. But fret not, making it in the heart of blizzard season is sure to ward off the winter blues with a taste reminiscent of warmer days. Are you drooling yet? If you’ve made it this far, you’ve waited long enough…

No-Cook Tomato Sauce (serves 4)

3 cups uncooked pasta (I used regular pasta, but whole wheat is super yum too)    5 tablespoons red wine vinegar                                                                                                      3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil                                                                                        salt and pepper, to taste                                                                                                          about 2 cups of chopped tomatoes or 1 pint of halved cherry tomatoes            fresh basil, to taste (optional)

1. Marinate the tomatoes: Mix vinegar, oil, basil, salt and pepper. Add tomatoes and toss to coat. Let sit at room temperature for at least 20 minutes. You can also prepare the tomatoes a day ahead and refrigerate, but don’t forget to bring it back to room temperature before mixing with the pasta.

2. Prepare the pasta: While the tomatoes are marinating, cook pasta according to package directions. Strain in cold water.

3. Add pasta to tomato mixture and toss to coat.

Serve this with a simple salad and crusty bread (to mop up all the yummy juices of course!) and you are ready to rock someone’s world with your mad cooking skillz.

A few tips and tricks:

*To cut basil headache-free, stack a bunch of leaves together in between your fingers and snip away with a pair of scissors right into the bowl. This technique also comes in handy for scallions, which I occasionally add to the recipe as well.

*I sometimes add a few shakes of garlic powder to the marinade. I’m usually a major proponent of fresh garlic, but in this recipe it tends to leave us with some major wah-wah garlic breath.

*If your tomatoes are out of season and/or you find the recipe a bit too sharp, you can cut down on the acidity with a few squeezes of the honey bear or shakes of sugar. My kids particularly love when I do this, I think they feel like they’re getting away with murder having “sweets” in their dinner.

*We are a cheese family. We loooooove our cheese. It frequently infiltrates unsuspecting recipes such as this one. My favorite add-in for this dish is shredded mozzarella, but my son usually requests parmesan on his (actually he asks for “farmer john” cheese, but I’m not rushing to correct him quite yet).

So I’m curious, do you have a go-to dish in your recipe stash? You know, the kind that produces no leftovers and everyone asking for the recipe as they lick their plates clean? Tell us yours in the comments section below!

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6 responses to “In the Kitchen: No-Cook Tomato Sauce

  1. Shockingly… baked chicken thighs/drums. Recipe as follows (highly technical, so please feel free to reread and take notes):

    Unwrap chicken thighs. Put in baking dish. Drown in Italian dressing (I like to use the Zesty varieties). Cover and put in fridge until you’re ready to cook. Bake at 350ish (or whatever temperature you feel like rocking) until mostly cooked. Give the pan a little shimmy once in a while. Uncover and bake another 10 minutes or so until the brown crispy yumminess happens. You could serve this with a side of carpet cleaner in my house, but I make some fancy-shmancy rice or veggie business most of the time and drizzle a little of the cooked marinade on it. Got some carrots? Throw em in. Have one lonely onion lying around? Go ahead and slice it into rings and toss it on top – I won’t tell anyone.

    I have been notorious for buying the huge bags of chicken leg quarters when they’re on sale, taking out frustrations by hacking them in half with a cleaver (hiiiii-YAHHHHH shriek required), using the big reusable roasting pans and putting them in the oven overnight at around 250 when I’m making this for big crowds. Ridiculously budget-friendly and I have no idea why everyone adores it but I have fed a locker room full of guys and girls this stuff time after time and it’s a huge hit.

    • gingerlyhomemaking

      Love it! Italian dressing and chicken have saved many an unplanned-dinner night for us =) As a matter of fact, I think I may just have to put that on our menu plan for the upcoming week.

  2. I wanted to vouch for one of the most amazing dinners ever. Actually, if you wanted a huge following of your blogs, perhaps this should have been your first. Bye the bye followers, this is the easiest and tastiest dinner that even dads can handle, try it out!

  3. so, i was just googling (that’s a funny word, if it’s even a word) no-cook tomato sauce and i saw your entry! made me smile! 🙂 will definitely have to try this. i’m on a raw tomato kick right now.

  4. Pingback: Monday Menu Plan: 3/26-4/1 | Ginger(ly) Homemaking

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