Tomato Basil Pasta

Here is a simple pasta dish with a creamy tomato sauce.


When I was a kid my mom had a couple of things that she would make for lunch on the summer days when we were royally tired of sandwiches. One was homemade macaroni and cheese. She would also heat up tomato sauce, add shredded cheddar cheese, and pour that all over boiled macaroni. (Sometimes she would add sliced up hot dogs, which I loved as a kid and don't love so much anymore.) Both of these are easy and they're comfort foods that remind me of home. I actually made a batch of the tomato sauce/cheddar macaroni during an episode of false labor when I was pregnant with my second daughter and needed calories and comfort food.

Well, homemade macaroni and cheese is one of those staple foods that I tend to make when I need something quick that I know the kids will eat, and unfortunately I've made it so much that I don't want to eat it again for about five years. So recently I came up with this recipe that is kind of a combination of the two macaroni dishes with a more sophisticated taste. It's still fast and simple and everyone in my family will eat it.

This recipe isn't exact, but I'll try to give approximate amounts for the ingredients.

Tomato Basil Pasta
1 pound of pasta (your favorite)
2 tbsp. butter or margarine
1-2 cloves garlic
1/2 tsp. basil
1 tbsp. flour
1/2-3/4 cup milk (half and half or whipping cream can also be a very tasty substitute!)
1 can tomato sauce (8 oz.)
~1 cup mozzarella cheese, grated
salt and pepper to taste

Boil and drain pasta.

While pasta is cooking, melt butter in saucepan. Add garlic and basil; cook and stir for a few seconds. Stir in flour. Gradually add milk (just like when you're making white sauce for homemade macaroni). Add tomato sauce. Add more milk until you like the color and consistency of the sauce--this sauce is more soupy than a white sauce. Add mozzarella cheese. You could also add some parmesan cheese. Add salt and pepper to taste. Pour sauce over pasta and stir.

You could probably get creative and add other toppings. I've added chopped green onions or sausage in the past.

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