Pasta with Tomato and Balsamic Vinegar Sauce

Time For Pasta

Pasta with Tomato and Balsamic Vinegar Sauce myfavouritepastime.com_6661Yesterday I read an interesting article, on Science Daily, that links sleep deprivation to junk food cravings. Apparently, a sleepless night makes us more likely to reach for doughnuts, cakes or pizza than for wholegrain foods and leafy vegetables, as suggested by a study from UC Berkeley that examined the brain region that controls food choices.

The result of the study sheds light on how the brain becomes impaired by sleep deprivation. Apparently, the brains frontal lobe, which governs complex decision-making, becomes impaired by lack of sleep and the deeper brain centers that respond to rewards show increased activity.

Pasta with Tomato and Balsamic Vinegar Sauce myfavouritepastime.com_6664One of my New Year resolutions was to get at least 7 hours of sleep every night but I seem to be sleeping fewer hours than I did last year. I know there are many of us, out there, that are sleeping less and less. If you set some weight loosing targets this year, then step number one is to get enough sleep. Want to read more about sleep deprivation and junk food?

Pasta with Tomato and Balsamic Vinegar Sauce myfavouritepastime.com_6625Today I want to share a simple recipe for pasta sauce with balsamic vinegar. It’s easy to make and worth all the trouble taken. The other day we had an argument on whether canned or fresh tomatoes are best for making pasta sauces. I was amazed that quite a number of people felt canned whole tomatoes are the best because they ripen on the vine as opposed to store bought tomatoes that are picked green. So if you cannot get ripened tomatoes on the vine, is the canned whole tomato a better alternative? I leave it to your judgment. Our hotly contested debate, ended in a stalemate…

  • Ingredients
  • 45ml 3 tablespoons olive oil (you can reduce amount if you want)
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 3 pieces of sundried tomato in olive oil, finely diced
  • 1 medium roasted pepper finely diced (I used bottled; the second time I used own roasted, tastes even better)
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • ¼-½ teaspoon chili flakes
  • 1 x 540ml (19 fl oz) can chopped tomatoes (I used Gusto diced tomatoes spicy red pepper flavour) or an equivalent amount of fresh seeded and chopped tomatoes
  • ½ cup crushed (pureed) tomatoes
  • 5ml (1 teaspoon) brown sugar
  • 60ml (¼ cup, 2fl oz) water or stock
  • 400g (14oz) pasta of your choice
  • 30-45ml (2-3 tablespoons) balsamic vinegar (I added 2 tablespoons)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ cup basil shredded
  • Grated Parmesan to top
  • Rocket or other salad to serve

Pasta with Tomato and Balsamic Vinegar Sauce myfavouritepastime.com_5261Please remember to always assemble all ingredients before you start cooking

Pasta with Tomato and Balsamic Vinegar Sauce myfavouritepastime.com_5265Heat the oil in a pan add garlic and onions, and Sauté  for about 5 minutes until soft.

Pasta with Tomato and Balsamic Vinegar Sauce myfavouritepastime.com_5270Add the sun-dried tomatoes, roasted pepper, paprika and chilli flakes.

Pasta with Tomato and Balsamic Vinegar Sauce myfavouritepastime.com_5275Cook for about one minute until thoroughly mixed

Pasta with Tomato and Balsamic Vinegar Sauce myfavouritepastime.com_5279Stir in chopped and crushed tomatoes, sugar and stock or water, stir to mix thoroughly.

Pasta with Tomato and Balsamic Vinegar Sauce myfavouritepastime.com_5286 Season with salt and pepper, bring to the boil and simmer for about 45 minutes.

Pasta with Tomato and Balsamic Vinegar Sauce myfavouritepastime.com_5291This is what the sauce looks like after simmering for 45 minutes.

Pasta with Tomato and Balsamic Vinegar Sauce myfavouritepastime.com_5299Stir in balsamic vinegar to the sauce and cook for 1-2 minutes,

Pasta with Tomato and Balsamic Vinegar Sauce myfavouritepastime.com_5306 add basil, adjust seasoning. Pour sauce over pasta and toss well. Sorry I only cooked a little pasta for the blog, so I can’t show you the tossing of the pasta.

Pasta with Tomato and Balsamic Vinegar Sauce myfavouritepastime.com_6670Serve immediately, with some salad

Pasta with Tomato and Balsamic Vinegar Sauce myfavouritepastime.com_6629and top with freshly grated/shaved  cheese.I really enjoyed the pasta sauce. It was very nice. Hope you enjoy it too!

Pasta with Tomato and Balsamic Vinegar Sauce

Preparation time: 15 minutes; Cooking time: 1 hour Serves:  4-6

Ingredients

  • 45ml 3 tablespoons olive oil (you can reduce amount if you want)
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 3 sundried tomato in olive oil, finely diced
  • 1 medium roasted pepper finely diced (I used bottled; the second time I used own roasted, tastes even better)
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • ¼-½ teaspoon chili flakes
  • 1 x 540ml (19 fl oz) can chopped tomatoes (I used Gusto diced tomatoes spicy red pepper flavour) or an equivalent amount of fresh seeded and chopped tomatoes
  • ½ cup crushed (pureed) tomatoes
  • 5ml (1 teaspoon) brown sugar
  • 60ml (¼ cup, 2fl oz) water or stock
  • 400g (14oz) pasta of your choice
  • 30-45ml (2-3 tablespoons) balsamic vinegar (I added 2 tablespoons)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ cup basil shredded
  • Grated Parmesan to top
  • Rocket (Arugula) or other salad to serve

Instructions

  1. Heat the oil in a pan. Sauté onions and garlic for about 5 minutes until soft. Add the sundried tomatoes, roasted pepper, paprika and chili flakes. Cook for about one minute until thoroughly mixed.
  2. Stir in chopped and crushed tomatoes, sugar and stock or water, stir to mix thoroughly. Season with salt and pepper, bring to the boil and simmer for about 45 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile cook the pasta in salted boiling water according to packet instructions or until al dente. Drain the pasta and turn into a warmed bowl.
  4. Stir in balsamic vinegar to the sauce and cook for 1-2 minutes, add basil, adjust seasoning. Pour sauce over pasta and toss well. Serve immediately, with some salad and top with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

Points to Note:

  1. You can leave the sauce chunky or blend it if you prefer a smooth sauce. (I didn’t blend mine)

myfavouritepastime.com 

Author: Liz

I love everything food: eating, cooking, baking and travelling. I also love photography and nature.

58 thoughts

  1. My italian Nonna would only ever used fresh tomatoes BUT she would also only ever use the ones she grew herself in the garden and I have to say, I still grow my own tomatoes and the difference in taste from those grown at home to the shop-bought ones is literally unbelievable. It’s like a different fruit altogether so I’m sure that that made all the difference!
    Lovely photos 🙂

    1. Hi there,
      What fond memories of your Italian Nonna, I can just imagine her cooking all those lovely Italian dishes and many people sitting round a huge table eating all those lovely dishes cooked by Nonna…thank God you followed her footsteps and now grow your own tomatoes as well. It did make a huge difference!
      Thank you so much for visiting me. I love your energy and motivation. Wish you a wonderful week!..omg the week is almost over. Best wishes!

  2. I made your sauce and it was delicious. I omitted the chili flakes due to my girlfriend’s low tolerance for anything spicy. Next time, I’ll make it for myself and add a scant amount of chipotle pepper and/or a diced piece of bacon to add some smokiness.

    1. Omg that is so very exciting that you made AND YOU LIKED IT. thanks so much for making this sauce. My best days are always those days when I get a feedback like this one. I shall certainly go to bed with a huge smile on my face. Thank you for making my day and wish you a fantastic week!
      P/s the bacon Idea is so tempting!

  3. I’m loving this recipe. I can’t wait to make it. As a new mum I’m always tired. Maybe I’ll reach for a few bites of this leftover pasta instead of a doughnut in the middle of the night. I bet my daughter would love it too. Thanks!

    1. I empathize with you. I’m a mum of four and I understand what being a new mum is, you can be so tired and there is so much to learn. The good thing: babies always grow and they are a joy to have.
      You cracked me up on that one. I usually reach for apples in the middle of the night. It’s very strange. All my apples are crunched at some ungodly hour, then I just get back to sleep, as if nothing happened! An apple a night, keep the Doc. away!

  4. Hello, Liz. I use balsamic often in cooking but have never thought to add it to a tomato sauce. Great idea! I bet it adds a nice depth to your sauce. I get my tomatoes from the farmers market and, staring about now, I peel and chop them before freezing them in quart containers. When they run out, I’ll buy canned San Marzano tomatoes. Before you pay the extra money for them, make sure you’re getting the real thing. Many will claim to be San Marzano and say “San Marzano style” or even “Certified” but they aren’t. I was surprised to learn that a couple well-known brands weren’t the “real thing.” Authentic San Marzano tomatoes have a seal from the Italian govt on each can. You can learn more at this website. http://gustiamo.typepad.com/gustiblog/2011/08/san-marzano.html .
    (If you mind my putting a link in your comments, Liz, I apologize and just delete it. No worries.)

    1. Hi John,
      It’s always a pleasure to see you. Balsamic is definitely one of my favourite vinegars, even when making salad. It does, miracles to foods and salads.
      What a great idea to buy tomatoes in season, then peel dice and chop before freezing. I used to do that many years ago, but I don’t know what happened. Life just seems to evolve and result in changes that can’t be explained, sometimes. Thank you for raising my curiosity, even further, on San Marzano and for giving me great tips on how to shop for the authentic one. The other day I was reading about Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Reggio Emilia with red, silver and gold labels (very fascinating). Thank you, John, for providing extra information on San Marzano, I don’t mind the link at all. I LOVE reading and passing on information. It’s the reason why we are all blogging and I LOVE learning from others too.
      I am going to make that risotto, John, I hope I find the gizzards. I have never made risotto, but hey, there is always a first time-right? Thank you so much for your continuos support, your kind comments and all the likes you’ve been giving me. I wish you a happy and fulfilling Sunday and my very best wishes to Max.
      P/S I have added this here for my reference:thanks, John.
      Also, beware that the Consorzio says that San Marzano tomatoes can only come in tins; the tomatoes can only be peeled whole or fillets. Therefore, Edoardo says that if you see the words “puree”, “sauce”, “chopped”, “diced”, “organic” (also, not regulated by the Consorzio) on the labels, they cannot be San Marzano. Very complicated.

  5. Haha Liz, I will join in on the debate, I always prefer canned when I don’t have my own garden fresh tomatoes! I love the idea of balsamic with the tomatoes, sounds wonderful. Best to you and your family, you guys are obviously eating well!

    1. Hi Jon,
      It’s a pleasure to see you, as always! I am on the lazy side, so I think you can guess what I prefer, and anyway I don’t have the luxury of a garden like you. The balsamic does make the sauce taste really good. Thanks, Jon, and wish you all a wonderful weekend!

    1. Thanks I enjoyed the sauce. had it for dinner and the left over for Lunch the next day. I would make it over and over again. Thank you for visiting me and wish you a great Sunday!

  6. As much as I like to use fresh vine-ripened tomatoes, convenience and cost make me reach for canned ones. Just make sure to choose BPA-free brands like Eden Organics or Muir Glen, or choose tomatoes sold in glass jars.

    1. I buy canned because of convenience and sometimes taste too. I once bought an organic one, but the tomatoes were so sour, I didn’t enjoy the soup at all. I don’t see many in jars though. Thanks, Sabrina, and wish you a very fulfilling weekend!

  7. Yum! I want to try this sauce without the pasta lol! It’s all about calories. I am living the sleep deprivation carb craving life right now. Settled for a chicken Caesar salad! Have a great day Liz.

    1. I can just feel how busy you are but imagine an Idle life, it would probably kill someone faster. Thanks for being here despite your busy, sleep deprived life, have a lovely weekend!

  8. This recipe sounds great! I may try it this weekend with some tomatoes from my garden. Thanks for providing the information about junk food craving and sleep deprivation. This explains a lot, because if I’ve had a restless night, I reach for junk food more often the next day. I though it was just stress from work or something. Really appreciate this new insight! Thanks!

    1. I wish I could one day say: I made this sauce with tomatoes from my garden. I would really love to grow tomatoes, but I’m not sure whether it’s lack of a green thumb, plain laziness or just lack of interest. I have seen some neighbours with little patches of gardens growing many pounds of tomatoes and I see them picking and eating and I say to myself “next year I shall grow tomatoes” unfortunately, the year began and now it’s almost over and still no tomatoes.
      Thanks so much for reading my post. I really appreciate and have a lovely and fulfilling weekend!

      1. I start my seeds indoors during February because I’m so eager to get to spring and have something green and growing! It also makes it much easier to finally get them outdoors and into the ground.

        Just as a suggestion…this year I grew some of my tomatoes in half whiskey barrels from Lowe’s, and I have to say, they did remarkably well. I liked that I didn’t have to do a lot of digging and soil preparation the way that I do for my regular vegetable garden. I think that’s what hold some people back—the soil tilling and all of the extra work that goes into it. I also planted lettuce this way too.

        There’s always next year, you know?!? Thanks!

        1. Omg what a great way to grow tomatoes, in half whisky barrels. Do they sell them specifically for that purpose?
          I think you are right, I used to love digging and soil preparation before I stared blogging but now I don’t seem to have too much time at hand. The blog eats a huge chunk of my free time.
          Next year, I want to give it a go. Thanks so much for providing all the little tips. I wish you a very pleasant weekend,

    1. I started from scratch sauce making this year and I just love every recipe I try. I look forward to getting one or two recipes from you. Thanks so much. I hope you’re enjoying your tomatoes? Have a wonderful and fulfilling weekend!

      1. I am enjoying my tomatoes! Just a few so far with tons of tiny salad ones on the way. Last year I had so many I was able to make lots of sauce and can it. The San Marzano tomatoes definitely work best for making sauce and canning. I don’t think my San Marzano plants made it this year though. I am also hoping to get more basil and make pesto sauce. Moh how I love pesto….on pasta, pizza, burgers….

        1. you are certainly having a whale of a time. Soon, you’ll be eating loads of salad. I had to look up San Marzano tomatoes and this is what Wiki has to say about them: “San Marzano tomatoes, a variety of plum tomatoes, are considered by many chefs to be the best paste tomatoes in the world” Okay I’m certainly going to use them the next time I make a pasta sauce, thanks for raising my curiosity! I can just imagine you eating all that pesto sauce and all the burgers and pizzas that go with it. Enjoy the fruits of your labour, maybe next year, we shall also input some Labour and talk about “enjoying our tomatoes” Thanks so much for your friendship and wish you a wonderful and fulfilling weekend full of tomatoes!

  9. And here I thought it might be one of those grey, drizzly kind of tomato soup days, but now I’ve changed my mind. This pasta looks like it will fill the bill better. I even have all of the ingredients in my cupboard and fridge right now. Thanks for changing my mind! I shall comment further once I’ve enjoyed it for dinner tonight. We are having a little change in weather but it’s still warm and I find myself feeling hot if I put a sweater on! Beautiful photos Liz! The colours are right on in your photos and the picture is bursting with virtual flavor. 😉 Have a wonderful Friday and weekend.

    1. Hi Sandy,
      As I always say, whenever I see you, I smile, then I read your motivating comment and smile even broader or just burst into laugher. I hear you-about the change of mind. My dinner was delightful last night, I think I overate, no wonder I woke up still feeling full.
      The weather here is on the warm side but just bearable so far. Thank you Sandy, you certainly raise my hopes whenever I toy with the idea of stopping blogging. (It can be really hectic if you’ve set some goals to achieve). Have a wonderful Friday and a very fulfilling weekend. I shall be at the Laundromat…ha ha!

      1. I forgot that I was going to tell you how my interpretation of this dish turned out! FANTASTICLY WONDERFUL! Your easy instructions and ingredients list just made it so easy to follow. I think you are right, the balsamic definitely bumped up the flavor! I would never have thought to use it. Thanks for that. I must confess though, I didn’t have any of those big luscious looking pasta shells so I had to use farfalle instead. It was really good though and I’m sure didn’t detract from the flavours. Oh gosh, please Liz, keep on, keeping on blogging. Your recipes and photos are so wonderful! There would be some really unhappy people who would dearly miss you if you stopped! I hope you had a fabulous time at the Laundromat! 😉 I went shopping! The only thing I bought was a new blender as I gave the one I had to my granddaughter to use for making baby food! A good investment in my mind! I bought a new Oster – all metal drive! Enjoy your Sunday!

        1. Omg thank you so much for giving feedback and interpreting it as FANTASTICLY WONDERFUL!
          I love balsamic it always does wonders to things that would otherwise have remained so bland and tasteless. You are cracking me up with your description of big luscious looking pasta- farfalle is also a favourite of mine, because they look very pretty (you know how I love pretty things!). Thanks so much for complimenting again.
          Laundromat is scheduled for tomorrow evening. I just have a hand blender. It’s the one I use for blending all my soups and anything else that requires blending. You love buying quality things, indeed. My eyes are now starting to shut. I hope you’ll enjoy the Bluegrass Fever. All the best, Sandy, and thank you so much for trying out the recipe and I am so glad you liked it.

  10. This sounds wonderful. I would never think to add balsamic vinegar to sauce, however, I love the flavor so I imagine it is very good. Depends on the sauce and time of year when I choose to use either canned or fresh tomatoes. However, when I do use “canned” I have been spending a little more and buying the San Marzano plum type tomatoes. I can see myself eating your sauce by the spoonfuls!

    1. Hi,
      I am so happy to see you. The sauce tasted very nice and I used canned tomatoes. I have never used “San Marzano” but I’m always open to trying new things so I’ll definitely look for it and try it. I shall give feedback, if I get it. Thanks so much for visiting me and wish you a fantastic weekend!

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