6 Sauces That Cook While the Pasta Does
You can make every one of these delicious toppings in the time it takes for that penne to arrive at al dente perfection.
Tomato sauce over pasta
A Tomato Sauce That Rivals Sunday's Marinara
Best with penne, rigatoni or ziti

This bright, fresh sauce takes considerably less time to make than the traditional weekend version. Warm 1/4 cup olive oil in a sauté pan. Then add 1 pound cherry or grape tomatoes, halved; 2 to 3 cloves garlic (minced is nice but thinly sliced is quicker); and 10 or so fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped. When the tomatoes are soft and the pasta's done, add the pasta and stir in 1/4 cup of the pasta cooking water, a small handful of pine nuts and about 15 small mozzarella balls (they'll melt into the hot pasta). Season with salt and pepper, and garnish with more basil.

To get the most out of this recipe—and the next five—follow three simple rules:
  • Use a pound (or slightly less) of pasta.
  • Boil the pasta until it's almost but not quite done, since it will finish cooking in the sauce.
  • Save at least a cup of the pasta cooking water—you may need it to help build your sauce.