Red Sauce DiPaola

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If you’ve read this blog very much at all, you know I love pasta.  Pasta meals tend to come together quickly, making them perfect for hungry families and this one is no exception.  This recipe was shared by DiPaola Momma on her blog, Chicken Nuggets of Wisdom.  (Don’t you just love the title of her blog?)  I altered it a tiny bit, but didn’t mess with the secret ingredient.

The ingredients can be kept on hand, and they’re economical.  Here’s what you’ll need to grab from the pantry:


1 can diced or crushed tomatoes with garlic, olive oil and basil (I used a large can without the added ingredients and added about a tsp. of basil)

2-4 cloves of garlic, minced

1/2 – 1 medium onion, minced

anchovy fillets

1 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. pepper

1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan

olive oil


Some of you are freaking out right now about the anchovies, swearing that you will never try this recipe or that you will leave them out.  Wait just a minute, because I’m going to teach you not to fear the fish.  Don’t leave me yet.

While the pasta cooks, saute the onion and garlic in a pan.  When they are soft, add in the anchovies.  I used about 1/2 the tin.  DiPaola Momma calls for 2 fillets, but I think I used a bigger can of tomatoes than she does.

Here’s what it looks like – don’t fear the fish!


I know it looks scary, but hang on.  They totally disintegrate into the sauce, giving it a great flavor.  Not a fishy flavor.  Even my kids love sauces with anchovies.  They don’t know they’re eating them, because they can’t see them and it doesn’t taste fishy.

After you cook the anchovies with the onion and garlic a bit, here’s what it looks like:


See?  They are all gone, only leaving behind great flavor.  Now you can finish the sauce by adding the rest of the ingredients and simmering until the pasta is ready to serve.  Enjoy!

Tomorrow I’ll share a popular Italian restaurant appetizer that you can easily make at home.  It’s perfect with any pasta dish.

I’d love to hear from any of you anchovy-scared cooks out there.  Do you think you will give them a try?  Or will you live in fear of the fish?

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  1. You’re making me hungry! I’ll be adding anchovies to my shopping list so I can try this sauce next week.

  2. I have to admit it, I’m fearing the fish. I’m sure I’d think it was wonderful as long as I’m not the one who has to put them in there 😛

  3. I love pasta as well!

    I am menu planning right now and perusing your site for all my meals for the week! 🙂

  4. Okay, that looks really good. I don’t know what it is but I too love pasta (Are there people who don’t?) and the sauce just makes it so much better. I might have to try this.

  5. I’m still fearful. Just the initial smell might turn me off. Now if someone else made it, I would eat it, but I don’t know if I could convince myself to try it.

  6. I’ve always wanted to try making my own red sauce, so I may give this one a shot. I can’t imagine using anchovies, but I will give it a try because you obviously had a skeptic like me in mind in describing the recipe. I’ll let you know how it goes!

  7. If the fish really freaks you out big time. You can purchase anchovie paste. It’s not hairy fish suspended in oil, which is hard for some. It gives the same AMAZING flavor (not fishy AT ALL) but looks less creepy. If you do use it I’d start with a tsp and work your way up if you’d like.

  8. This sounds really good – I’m going to try it. I’ve used anchovy paste before when making salad dressing with balsamic vinegar. You wouldn’t anchovies were in the dressing unless someone told you, but they do add to the flavor.

  9. I agree with Diana G — use the paste! You don’t have to handle the fish and the paste will keep in the refrigerator. Another idea would be to use some Worcestershire sauce — anchovies are already included!

    I already make my own red sauce and don’t use anchovies, but I might try some of the paste in my next batch.

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