Looking for something quick, tasty, and not made from some reconstituted packet in the cupboard? Have I got the sauce for you:
a can of good tomatoes, some garlic, olive oil, fresh parsley, sugar (or, even better, a carrot), salt and pepper – OH! and some parmesan cheese – and as a bonus, if you’ve been good and saved your parmesan cheese rinds in the freezer for later use, this is the PERFECT time to toss ‘em in the mix!
•1/4 cup olive oil
•2 large whole garlic cloves – I used four or five smallish ones
•1 (28 oz.) can of good diced tomatoes
I like the Cento tomatoes – they’re not San Marzano, but they’re also not $4+ a can
•Salt and pepper to taste
•1/4 cup half and half
•1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese – I used a bit less grated and tossed in some rinds from the freezer
•1/4 to 1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
•Pinch of sugar (or a peeled carrot)
•Pinch of crushed red pepper (or more, to your own taste)
•Water, as needed
Heat the olive oil in a large heavy saucepan, add the garlic cloves (keeping them whole will give you a more subtle garlic flavor) and cook for about one minute.
Add the tomatoes, salt and pepper. Cover and cook for about ten minutes, then uncover, add any parmesan rinds and cook, stirring often, until thickened a bit. Slowly stir in half & half, then add sugar (or carrot), grated parmesan, parsley, and crushed red pepper.
Simmer the sauce a bit for the cream to become incorporated. Add water, if needed, to bring the sauce to desired consistency.
Fish out any remaining rind and the garlic cloves and serve over the pasta of your choice – we had some Monterey Pasta spinach and cheese ravioli and it was just about perfect.