This is a really delicious and simple dinner for those busy weeknights. Fresh herbs are key in this recipe. I often omit the cheese and sugar and use either whole wheat pasta or brown rice pasta. Fire-roasted tomatoes work well too.
Red Wine-Tomato Pasta
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- 1 1/2 teaspoons minced fresh garlic
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 cup dry red wine
- 2 (14 1/2-ounce) cans petite diced tomatoes, undrained
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh or 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh or 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 12 ounces uncooked thin spaghetti
- 1 (4-ounce) block mozzarella cheese, shredded
- 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- Toppings: chopped fresh basil, freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- Sauté garlic in hot oil in a large skillet over medium heat 1 minute or until lightly browned. Carefully stir in wine and next 5 ingredients; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low, and simmer, stirring occasionally, 20 minutes or until thickened.
- Cook pasta according to package directions; drain. Stir together hot pasta, mozzarella cheese, and 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese in a large serving bowl, tossing to coat until cheeses start to melt. Pour tomato sauce over pasta mixture, and toss to combine. Serve immediately with desired toppings.
- Red Wine-Tomato-and-Steak Pasta: Prepare sauce as directed. Stir 2 cups thinly sliced cooked steak into tomato mixture before simmering. Simmer 20 minutes or until thickened. Substitute 12 ounces penne pasta for thin spaghetti.
- White Wine-Tomato-and-Clam Pasta: Prepare sauce as directed, substituting dry white wine for red wine. Stir in 2 drained (6.5-ounce) cans chopped clams to tomato mixture just before tossing with pasta mixture.
Opening a bottle of wine for a small amount may seem wasteful unless you plan to serve the rest with dinner. Opt to buy the small bottles, usually sold in four-packs in the wine section of the supermarket. Use a Chianti or Merlot for red wine and Pinot Grigio for white in the White Wine-Tomato-and-Clam Pasta variation.
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