Homemade Pasta Sauce 3 Ways

Homemade Pasta Sauce 3 Ways

See how to make easy marinara, Alfredo and pesto sauces for your next pasta night.

Make one of these classic pasta sauces the next time you’re craving an Italian night. Easily customizable and delicious, they’re fast, easy and family-approved. By knowing exactly what goes into the sauces — and using fresh ingredients instead of jarred sauces — you can rest assured that you’re serving a wholesome dinner!

Tip: Make a night out of whipping up these sauces by making homemade pasta.

1. Classic Marinara Sauce
Serves: 4
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes
Difficulty: Easy
Cost: $

75 mL (5 tbsp) virgin olive oil 
500 mL (2 cups) diced red bell pepper
60 mL (4 tbsp) minced garlic
500 mL (2 cups) diced red onion
30 mL (2 tbsp) tomato paste
1 can (675 grams) (24 ounces) stewed tomatoes
375 mL (1 1/2 cups) double-strength chicken stock
1 bay leaf
30 mL (2 tbsp) unsalted butter
15 mL (1 tbsp) fresh oregano, finely chopped
15 mL (1 tbsp) fresh parsley, finely chopped
15 mL (1 tbsp) fresh basil, finely chopped
Salt and pepper


  1. Heat olive oil in a heavy saucepan over medium-high heat
  2. Add the bell pepper and sauté until caramelized, about 7 minutes
  3. Add the garlic, and cook briefly until light brown. Add the onion and a pinch of salt. Cook until brown, about 5 minutes. Add the tomato paste and stir to mix well
  4. Add the tomatoes and their juice, the stock and bay leaf. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer the sauce until thick, about 25 minutes. Be sure to stir often to prevent scorching
  5. Add the butter, oregano, parsley and basil, and stir well. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper

2. Easy Alfredo Sauce
Serves: 4
Cook time: 10 minutes
Difficulty: Easy
Cost: $

45 mL (3 tbsp) unsalted butter
500 mL (2 cups) heavy cream
500 mL (2 cups) freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and black pepper
Chopped parsley, for garnish



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  1. In a large pot, melt butter
  2. Add cream and bring to a simmer. Stir in grated Parmesan and generously season with salt and black pepper
  3. Garnish with chopped parsley

3. Basil Pesto Recipe
Serves: 4
Prep time: 10 minutes
Difficulty: Easy
Cost: $

1000 mL (4 cups) packed basil leaves
About 10 parsley sprigs, stems removed
2 cloves garlic
50 mL (1/4 cup) toasted pine nuts, walnuts or almonds
Salt and pepper to taste
125 mL (1/2 cup) extra virgin olive oil
125 mL (1/2 cup) freshly grated Parmesan cheese


  1. Combine the basil, garlic, parsley, toasted nuts, and salt and pepper in a food processor or blender, and process until finely chopped
  2. Drizzle the olive oil into the mixture as the processor or blender is running, just until it makes a paste. Remember, you can always add more oil, but you can't remove it
  3. Put the mixture in a bowl. Add grated cheese to mixture and stir

Tip: Refrigerate leftover pesto drizzled with a layer of olive oil to preserve it. Pesto can also be frozen. One of our favourite methods is to freeze it in ice cube containers and then transfer the frozen cubes to a plastic freezer bag. A couple of cubes thawed and served hot on fresh pasta makes enough pesto to feed a few hungry people.

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