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5 Ingredient Quick Red Pan Sauce

A great way to take advantage of the abundant spring and summer vegetables are to buy them when they are in harvest and cheap-and buy a lot of them. Few things can beat a real (even better heirloom varietal) tomato fresh out of the garden. But no one wants to be stuck inside on a beautiful summer day prepping veg and simmering sauces. This 5 ingredient, less than 20 minute (from start to finish), one pan red sauce is the solution. The nontraditional use of butter at the end gives the sauce a richness and fullness as if it had simmered for hours. You can heat the water and cook some pasta while you make the sauce. Using a variety of fresh vegetables and adding this sauce, perhaps a sprinkle of fresh cheese,  a garnish of basil, and a drizzle of good olive oil could transport you to any Italian trattoria. In which case, don’t forget the vino! Seriously, moderate wine consumption (1-3 glasses per day) is associated with a ~30% reduction in the risk of developing cardiovascular disease.


  • 1 Tbs olive oil
  • 1/4 finely chopped onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 Tbs wine
  • 1 pound fresh tomatoes (cherry and smaller tomatoes are preferred here)
  • 1 Tbs butter (in several small cubes)


In a medium saucepan heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until translucent, about three minutes. You do not want to brown the onions. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Add the wine and cook until almost all the liquid is evaporated, about two minutes. Add the tomatoes and allow them to split and release their juices. Once the skins split, you may crush them in the pan. Cook until the liquid has thickened, about 8 minutes. Add the butter 1 cube at a time and mix to incorporate. Remove, garnish if desired, and serve.

Quick pan red sauce