Tomato Pan Sauce

September 09, 2020

Recipe by Local Roots recipe contributor, Chef Casey Corn @casey_corn

Any chef that's worked with pasta can build a sauce out of pretty much anything, and this is one of my favorite base recipes. As you get comfortable with this recipe, feel free to make it your own! Try different oils or butter, try vodka instead of white wine, and mix up the veggies you add in! Taste as you go, and create your own amazing pan sauce!


½ lb pasta, shape of your choice

2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil

4 ea garlic cloves

½ tsp red chili flakes

2 Tbs tomato paste

few sprigs fresh herbs, like thyme, rosemary, oregano, etc

¼ c white wine

2 Tbs heavy cream

1 pint clementine cocktail tomatoes, or other cherry tomatoes

to taste parmesan cheese

to taste freshly ground black pepper



1. Bring a pot of heavily salted water to a boil. Cook pasta to two minutes under al dente, as you’ll finish cooking it in the sauce. Before draining, reserve 1 cup of pasta water.

2. While the pasta is cooking, create your pan sauce. Microplane or finely mince the garlic cloves, then add the olive oil to a large skillet over medium low heat and begin to sweat the garlic. Cook, without browning, for about 2-3 minutes until soft and translucent, then add in the chili flakes.

3. Let the chili flakes cook in the garlic for about a minute, until fragrant, then add in the tomato paste and raise the heat to medium. Cook out the tomato paste for about 5 minutes, until it has turned brick red, then add in the herbs and deglaze with the wine. Let the wine simmer and reduce by half, then stir in the heavy cream, and add a pinch of salt.

4. Halve the cocktail tomatoes, and add to the sauce, along with the pasta and enough pasta water to cover. Bring up to a low boil, and cook until the sauce is reduced and the pasta is cooked through.

5. Serve with grated parmesan cheese and freshly ground black pepper.

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