A Saucy Surprise

Yesterday, I had one of those Old Mother Hubbard-esque  I-don’t-know-what-to-make-for-dinner moments.

what to make. . .via

Now, I don’t know if you are like me, but I hate these moments, and it’s even worse when they sneak up on you while you’re really hungry. There are all sorts of cool lists out there to prepare you for such first-world-food-crises, but there I was, as unprepared as Cady meeting the plastics on the first day of school. So I decided to fall back on a timelessly accessible, if less-than-healthy, option. . . Pasta with Clam Sauce. Only, imagine my surprise, I was halfway through making my mother’s delectable clam sauce recipe when I realized that both my clams and clam-sauce (already in cans, mind you) were a YEAR past their expiration date. Sick.

Needless to say, I wound up improvising a tomato sauce out of the not-yet-clam-sauce, with dubious hopes and ever-noisier stomach growls and the result was STUPENDOUS!!! So, here is my, (possibly obvious) delicious pasta sauce recipe to share, in case you find yourself in a similar moment (being let down by your canned good supplies and in need of a trip to the grocery store)!

Accidental Tomato Sauce for Pasta


  • 1 onion – medium sized
  • 2-3 Tbsp olive (or canola) oil
  • 2 cloves chopped garlic (I used the pre-diced, which was handily in my fridge!)
  • 1/4 c. fresh parsley
  • 1 Tbsp dried oregano
  • 1 Tbsp dried basil
  • 1 quart of tomatoes (I used preserves from my Mom’s garden and it was to-die-for-delicious!)
  • 1.5 Tbsp butter (about 1/5 of a stick – this will cut some of the natural acidity in preserved tomatoes and render the final sauce a lot more delicious!)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Grated Parmesan Cheese – for on top!


  1. Slice up your onion and sauté it in your olive oil, adding the garlic after a few minutes (shortly after the onion starts to get all transluscent).
  2. Add in the dried oregano and basil (liberally), followed by the parsley and butter.
  3. Cook this mixture for around 10 minutes, stirring semi-regularly so that it doesn’t burn.
  4. Dump your quart of tomatoes into the herb-laden onion mixture and cook for another 10 minutes or so, until it is warm through.
  5. Serve over your favorite type of pasta (I used shells!) with a smattering of grated parmesan cheese on top, and salt and pepper as you see fit!
  6. Stop being hungry!

Published by Abby

Dabbling in decoratives is an ongoing obsession. I love having a go at This, That and the Other. . . tackling projects that tickle my fancy, hoarding costumes (for the "Someday" that I own a dress-up tea-house for grown-ups) and hosting themed parties whenever I am not immersed in teaching French and Writing to high school students. In the interest of full transparency, there's something serious you should know: I overuse the ellipsis . . . frequently. Embarassingly enough, it seems to be the punctuation that best captures my stream of thought as it flits off of one subject and towards the next!

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