Pasta Sauce

Last week, I confessed that I love pasta.  And Shane Thomas, my San Francisco chef friend, demonstrated how easy it is to make homemade pasta, even without a pasta machine (if you missed it, click here)!

This week, he’s teaching us two of his favorite sauces.  Once you add this rustic marinara and basil pesto to your repertoire, you can include them in many other dishes:  roasted vegetables, eggs, spaghetti squash, or even use them as dipping sauces for crusty Italian bread.

Shane makes these sauces at the same time: He uses a sprig of basil in the marinara, then blends the rest into a quick pesto.


Watch Recipe Video Here:

Food La La Recipe: Marinara + Pesto

Rustic Marinara:



  1. Cover a heavy bottom saucepan with ½” olive oil and warm on medium heat.
  2. Add garlic (it should sizzle but not smoke) and fry until it’s golden brown.
  3. Turn heat down to low.
  4. Add tomatoes, being careful not to splatter the hot oil, and stir.
  5. Using scissors, cut the whole tomatoes into chunks and turn heat back to medium.
  6. Add basil.
  7. Let sauce simmer on low heat until it has cooked down to about half of its original volume (about 1 hour).
  8. Season with salt.
  9. Add warm pasta and stir.



  • ¼ cup pine nuts, toasted
  • 1 cup basil (packed)
  • ¾-1 TBS of salt
  • ½ cup oil


  1. Add pine nuts, basil, salt, and olive oil to a blender and blend until desired consistency (15 seconds for a chunky pesto).
  2. Toss pesto with warm pasta and stir.



Psst!  Some recipe notes:

Note:  If you want a smooth marinara sauce, after reducing, let sauce cool and then blend.

Note:  To make the pesto more decadent, add parmesan cheese or stir in hot cream before tossing with pasta.

Note: If you have other herbs, add them to your pesto!

Note: To preserve the pesto, freeze individual portions in ice cube trays, or put in a jar and cover with about ¼” of olive oil and refrigerate for up to a month.