Why so special?
First off because it comes together while the pasta is cooking (i.e., 10 minutes or so). This makes it a preferred choice when you’re in crunch time.
Secondly because it’s very light. There’s no frying or sauteing the onion in fat. The olive oil is added “raw” as the very last step. There’s nothing wrong with sauteing (don’t get me wrong) but skipping it makes the sauce much skinnier.
Lastly, it’s soooo tasty. I mean REALLY good. If it wasn’t so, it wouldn’t be my go-to tomato sauce recipe.
And it’s healthy, soooo healthy. It’s jam packed with lycopene, the bright-red carotenoid pigment and phytochemical that gives tomatoes their red color.
Lycopene is well known specifically to help prevent many forms of cancer as well as the prevention and treatments of many illnesses and diseases.
Lycopene becomes especially important during the summer months. Some researchers claim that it may neutralise the harmful effects of UV light due to the excess production reactive oxygen species (ROS) which can damage important skin structures.
In particular, a greater intake of lycopene leads to a higher skin levels of pro-collagen, a molecule which gives the skin its structure and loss of which leads to skin ageing and lack of elasticity.
So yes, this three-tomato pasta sauce is as healthy as it gets.
½ onion, minced
¾ cup water (plus more if needed)
6 tablespoons tomato paste
12 cherry tomatoes, halved
handful sun-dried tomatoes
2 tablespoons capers
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
zest of ½ lemon
chopped fresh basil to taste
Parmesan-Reggiano cheese to taste
8 oz whole wheat spaghetti
Bring a large pot of salted water to boil and cook whole wheat spaghetti according to package instructions.
In the meantime, add onion and water in a large pan over medium-high heat. Cook for 2 minutes until the water starts to boil. Lower the heat, add tomato paste, stir until it reaches a cream like consistency. Add cherry tomatoes and stir well.
On chopping board with a sharp knife, roughly chop sun-dried tomatoes and capers and add them to the sauce.
If the sauce looks a bit too thick, thin it with some pasta cooking water, one tablespoon at a time. Finally add the lemon zest, olive oil and turn off the heat. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
The pasta should be cooked by now, drain and toss with the sauce.
Serve topped with some fresh basil and some grated Parmesan-Reggiano cheese (if you’re not vegan).
The three-tomato sauce has 277 calories, 10 grams of fat, 41 grams of carbs and 6.5 grams of protein.
One serving (i.e., 2 oz) of whole wheat spaghetti dressed with the three-tomato sauce scores 160 calories, 4.5 grams of fat, 74 grams of carbs and 14.5 grams of protein.