Mimsy Were the Borogoves

Food: Recipes, cookbook reviews, food notes, and restaurant reviews. Unless otherwise noted, I have personally tried each recipe that gets its own page, but not necessarily recipes listed as part of a cookbook review.

Tomato-basil pasta sauce

Jerry Stratton, October 15, 2005

This moderately spicy simple pasta sauce is for spaghetti or linguini and meatballs.


Servings: 2
Preparation Time: 1 hour


  • 3 large tomatoes, about 2 pounds
  • 1/4 pound fresh basil, finely chopped
  • 3 tblsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/2 pound meatballs
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper, powdered
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 lemon’s juice
  • 1/2 pound spaghetti or linguini cooked to taste
  • 1 cup shredded parmesan


  1. purée tomatoes with 1/4 basil; set aside
  2. sauté onion three minutes
  3. add garlic and half the basil, and sauté another minute
  4. add meatballs and sauté two minutes
  5. add cayenne pepper, salt, and black pepper
  6. simmer, covered, with tomatoes 30 minutes
  7. add lemon juice
  8. mix with the pasta
  9. top with parmesan and remaining basil
  10. verify seasoning

A heavy dose of basil is the backbone of this pasta sauce. It is great with spaghetti or linguini, and is a great complement to a pasta with meatballs. You might also add chopped black olives, mushrooms, and/or bell pepper to the mix.

You can use homemade meatballs, although I’ve taken to the Italian meatballs from Trader Joe’s. Homemade meatballs should be about an inch in diameter, and you’ll want about eight of them.

Except for the fresh basil and meatballs, most of these ingredients are ones you should keep on hand, making this a useful recipe if you’re at the store and want something homemade but simple.

If you prefer a thicker pasta sauce, let the sauce simmer uncovered for another five minutes before serving.

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