Simple dinners are the order of the day around these parts. With the warm, beautiful weather, it’s hard to want to spend all afternoon in the kitchen when my older boys are finally home from school and all four of the rowdy little dudes want to be running around outside catching bugs in their heavy-duty bug nets. Hey, what can I say…me and my big, pregnant belly want to party with them (read: sitting on a chair watching the bug catching, not necessarily participating unless you consider little shrieks of concern when the bugs get too close to mommy’s face participation) but the consequence is that it leaves little time for dinner prep.
What better way to throw together a delicious weeknight meal than serving pasta with a unique red sauce that is perfect for changing up regular ol’ noodle night. Made in 30 minutes or less, this meal is satisfying and simple. A great combination.
While I love brie cheese in other applications, I’ve never considered using it as a creamy add-in for a pasta sauce. The medley of crushed tomatoes, simple spices and combination of Parmesan and brie cheese give the sauce a wonderful texture and flavor and because it is so simple, when I make this, I usually serve it alongside the Creamy Garlic Alfredo Sauce (another quick and delicious pasta sauce) for a little variety. A naturally meatless sauce, you could easily add in some grilled chicken or sauteed ground turkey or beef for extra protein…or leave it meatless like we do to save a few dollars.
I like to serve meatless pasta dishes like this with whole wheat breadsticks, a green salad, and steamed veggies like broccoli or peas.
*Need Easter Dinner menu ideas? Click HERE for a make-a-menu!*
Note: If you want to add yet another dimension of flavor to this sauce, you can start off by sauteing several cloves of minced garlic in olive oil and then adding the rest of the ingredients. I was in too much of a hurry so I simplified and still loved the result. Also, from what I hear, chopped black olives make a wonderful addition to the sauce.
- 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon dried basil
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, optional
- 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 4 ounces Brie cheese, outer rind removed, cubed
- In a medium saucepan, combine the crushed tomatoes, salt, pepper, oregano, sugar, basil and red pepper flakes (if using). Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook for 5-6 minutes, stirring often. Add the Parmesan cheese and stir well, continuing to simmer for another 1-2 minutes. Stir in the Brie cheese, simmering and stirring until the cheese melts. Serve the sauce over penne pasta (most any shape of pasta will work well!).
Recipe Source: adapted slightly from my friend, Reyna, who originally got it from her friend, Michelle