Sauce in a Pan!

Wanna know a secret? Sometimes, when I’m trying to get dinner on the table, I make spaghetti sauce in my skillet. Ok, maybe more than sometimes. Try all the time.

Yep. Spaghetti sauce in the same skillet I use to make kale and everything else I’ve cooked for this blog.

“But, but, but…don’t you need a giant sauce pot?”

Only if you’re making the Sunday Sauce (or, if you’re Italian from the East Coast, “gravy”). I’m far too lazy to stir shit every 20 minutes for 5 hours, so quick sauce it is!

Here are my quick and dirty tips for making sauce.

Step 1: 

Once I was on Tumblr and I saw a recipe for spaghetti sauce that claimed it would be “just like being in an Italian cafe!” People were raving about how great it was. I looked at the ingredients – A can of crushed tomatoes. An onion  – a whole, entire onion. And butter. Let me repeat that: BUTTER. Now, maybe they do butter in tomato-based sauces in certain parts of Italy, but where my family comes from, fuck you if you put butter into tomato sauce. What the fuck? BUTTER? A whole god damned stick of butter? Who wrote that fucking recipe, Paula Deen? Did she use racial slurs while doing it? Ugh. No. Fuck you and your butter. People who rave about butter in tomato sauce know nothing, says me. And I obviously know everything because I have a blog. That’s right. This is what swag looks like.

You wanna make a decent sauce? Use OLIVE OIL. And garlic. Who the hell makes Italian food and doesn’t put garlic in it?

Olive oil, chopped garlic, and onion into the pan. You need to make sure that you stir all this together with a wooden spoon. The wooden spoon is very important. Why? Because reasons. And that’s the most awesome reason ever.


Step 2:

Add spices. That tomato-onion-butter monstrosity I mentioned above? Those were the only things in the sauce. No seasoning, no salt, zip. Dude. No. You’ve gotta season that shit. I use salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, basil, and oregano. Use liberally. I never measure. If it looks like enough if probably is.

Step 3:

Two cans of straight tomato sauce. Don’t get anything that already says “spaghetti sauce” on it. I’m talking two cans of whatever brand. I have brands I gravitate toward but seeing as no one is showering me with cash to promote their brands, fuck if I care to plug them.

“But Jen, you swear more than anyone I’ve ever met. Perhaps paying someone with the mouth of a drunken dock worker to promote their product would be detrimental to a brand?”

Hey, random person, did you know that people who swear a lot are more honest and trustworthy than the average population? Yeah, it I read it in this study I just made up.

Take your generic white label can that reads “TOMATO SAUCE” in big black letters and dump in the pan. Stir. Add more spices if you think you need them. I always do because you don’t want to feel like you’re eating unseasoned tomato slop. If you want that just go to Olive Garden.

Step 4:

Here’s the fun part of making sauce in a skillet: It’s going to splatter and it’s going to get everywhere. Your stove, your floor, your hair, your wall, your face, everywhere. You are probably going to look like you killed someone. Great for a Halloween costume or fucked up cosplay, not so great for any other time…unless you’re into that sort of look. Hey, I was Goth in high school, who am I to judge?

This is why you should use a lid:



Gross. And this was on low low heat! 

Once you’re done stirring everything together, put a lid on your skillet (unless you really love cleaning a tomato sauce crime scene off your walls. If you do, have at it! Don’t say I never gave you nothin’.) Turn your sauce to simmer and leave it alone. Come back every 5-8 minutes to stir. It’ll be done in like 20 – 25 minutes.


See how it doesn’t run down the spoon? This is a good thing.

Hopefully you’ve had the good sense to put pasta on in between steps. Once it’s done, strain and serve! Dump some parmesan cheese on it like a boss! Mmmm….carbtactular.




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