The original Awesomesauce!

This is one of the most basic recipes in my culinary repertoire, but it's also one of the most beloved. It's very easy (and cheap!) to make, there's plenty of wiggle-room, and it freezes very well. One batch generally makes about six to eight portions - depending on how hungry you are!

One of my fall-backs when there's nothing in the house is pasta, because there's always usually the basic ingredients for some kind of sauce: a tin of tomatoes, an onion, some cheese. And if those things aren't at hand, then the shops are only five minutes away. I also find that home-made pasta sauces, even when extremely basic, often taste nicer than pre-made sauces from jars. Maybe it's the whole getting-to-lick-the-spoon part.

Awesomesauce was thusly named because it is totally awesome. Sadly I've already made my latest batch a few weeks ago so there are no photos at present - the frozen lumps of sauce in tupperware containers don't look that appealing! - but I've at least taken a snap of the raw ingredients, which are waiting around for when the next batch is made.

Yep, that's pretty much it.

1 tub of Dairylea cheese spread (at least the 300g one, but larger also works)
1 or 2 tins of tinned tomatoes or you can use tomato passata if you want it smoother (or even one of each)
1 or 2 onions (depends how onion-y you like it)
A few spring onions

Chop up the onions. The pieces don't need to be too small; you can leave them in large rings if you like. The size of my onion pieces is directly related to how much I can chop before my eyes begin to sting. (NB. At least the up-side to deadly onion fumes is being able to reenact the "why are you crying?" scene from Mad About You.)

Put the onions in a large saucepan and cover with water. Bring to the boil and then let them simmer until they're soft. (NB. You can also start by frying the onions instead.)

When the onions are done, drain the water and then add in one tin of tomatoes. Put the saucepan back on the heat and mix this together, chopping up the tomatoes as you go if you've used whole ones. Or you can just leave them whole if you prefer.

After a few minutes of this, add in the tub of cheese spread. Continually stir this in until there are no unmelted lumps of cheese left and your sauce is looking rather, well, saucy. It should be a rather bizarre pale pink colour. Keep the heat fairly low, you don't want it to boil. Once the cheese and tomato have mixed together thoroughly, have a taste. You might find that you want to add in a second tin of tomatoes - in general, I add the entire first tin and then only the tomatoes from the second. It all depends on how cheesey/tomato-y you like things, and how big your tub of cheese was to begin with.

The last step is to add in the spring onions, which of course you have already chopped up into little discs. Toss them in, stir them through, and you're done. If your pasta is ready, then dinner is served! If not, cover the saucepan and just let it sit. It can easily be reheated - I tend to make it around lunchtime and then just leave it in the pan until my other half is home to do the pasta. It also, as I've mentioned, freezes very well.

And there you have it, the original, no-frills Awesomesauce! You can of course add or change ingredients; several of my bastardisations include:

Using Philadelphia cream cheese instead of Dairylea - which then necessitated putting in a lot of pepper because Philly tastes less cheesey. (There are of course other cheese spreads you can use, I just used Dairylea first time because it was the cheapest!) This variety is wittily known as Philly-pepper-awesomesauce.

Adding in some chopped peppers, or sugar peas - these tend to go in just before the spring onions, because I like them to be still be mostly crunchy.

Frying up some diced chicken and putting that in as well.

Or bacon! Bacon makes the world go round.

Crushed garlic, or garlic powder, also makes for a wonderful addition.

If you have some cherry tomatoes hanging around, put them - whole - into the boiling water when you're doing the pasta. When the pasta's done, carefully take out the tomatoes and then pop a few on top of each serving of sauce. Of course I assume this also works for raw cherry tomatoes, but I like the trick of boiling them through.

I don't think I've tried anything else, but really, the sky's the limit with a base as basic as this one!

Oh yeah - as for the type of pasta to use? We originally started with shells because they hold the sauce very nicely, but spaghetti also works wonderfully. The sauce isn't terribly thick, but it is nice and clingy.


  1. I always feel a frisson of thrill when I see a new post on the blog. And I try to guess who has contributed before I scroll to the bottom. This time, I overlooked the title for a moment (as that would have given it away but for some reason my brain didn't connect) and was trying to work out from the pic, where it had come from. Well, it's not Alex's or my sister's so that's them out. But I don't know what the kitchens of the other contributors look like so I reckoned it might be one of them. Emily perhaps or Rochelle? But then the light went on and I realised. And wow, it does look totally awesome. I wonder if Dairylea is available in North America and if not, what could one use as a substitute? Would cream cheese give the same effect? Perhaps not and perhaps the flavour would be different.

    Can I put that to our North American readers and get an answer perhaps?

    I think having a batch of sauce on hand for these emergency meals when there is nothing but pasta and also for the meals when one uses the sauce as part of the whole, is great. And I'm going to whip up a batch and freeze for both types of meal. Thanks Sal, you're a star. x

    1. Actually, I think Laughing Cow cheese might be the closest substitute? I used to have a lot of that in Australia, where I'd boil some onions, drain the water, then melt a triangle of Laughing Cow in and put that on a potato! :D Dairylea isn't insanely cheesy, but it does give a lovely creamy consistency, and I tend to favour creamier sauces.

      Hope you enjoy! :D

  2. *You* are awesomesauce! :D Thanks for posting this - it looks amazing and so adaptable as well. Always good to have a batch of sauce in the freezer for those nights where you just don't feel like cooking.

    1. I do love a well-stocked freezer :) At present we have two double-portions of awesomesauce, plus four single portions of curry... sadly no chicken soup though, that's our other freezer staple! (And perhaps my next recipe!)