Pantry Raid: Lisa’s Easy Tomato Cream Sauce Recipe

I get really excited about composing a great meal spontaneously, using only what I have on hand.  This recipe came together on a recent Sunday afternoon while I was perusing the pantry and mulling over what I could design for dinner in under 30 minutes.  I liken that sort of culinary exploration to a fashionista who creates new clothing combinations with basic items that they already have in their closet.  It may appear to have a unique flavor or appearance, but it’s assembled by challenging yourself to work with what you’ve got.

It was the discovery of a 14.5 ounce can of Red Gold Diced Tomatoes and 2 packages of Trader Joe’s ravioli in the fridge that ignited my desire for an Italian meal.  Once the idea took hold I continued to explore my kitchen to gather the ingredients that would get me where I wanted to go in terms of flavor.  I always keep a triangle of parmesan cheese, several heads of garlic and a multitude of dried herbs handy.  The shelf/refrigerator life of all three makes it easy to have them at the ready.   My fresh herb garden is the gift that keeps on giving during the summer and early fall months here in MN.  Heavy cream is a staple in my refrigerator.  I use it to jazz up a soup or sauce here and there, as well as to whip and top desserts.  And who can’t make an excuse for the use of a rich chocolate ganache now and then?

This tomato cream sauce requires just 6 ingredients but elicits an abundance of flavor.

Lisa’s Easy Tomato Cream Sauce


  • 14.5 ounce can of diced tomatoes (do not drain)
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of dried Italian seasoning (season to desired taste while simmering)
  • Chiffonade of fresh basil ( 4-5 leaves, plus extra for garnish if desired)
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese (plus extra to top the ravioli before serving, if desired)



  1. Heat diced tomatoes (with juices) in a medium saucepan over med-high heat.  Add the garlic, dried herbs and basil .  Lightly simmer (do not boil) for approximately 10 minutes.
  2. Stir in heavy cream, continue to simmer and stir gently for another 5 minutes.  Add grated Parmesan cheese, stir until combined and remove from heat.

I used 2 packages of Trader Joe’s Sweet Corn, Burrata and Basil Ravioli as the vehicle for this sauce.  It’s meant to be drizzle generously over the top.  I didn’t toss the ravioli as I wanted to avoid breakage as well as preserve the beauty of the internal flavors.  It should be used to enhance but not soak or overpower the ravioli.

This yielded enough sauce for 2 people with a little left for lunch the next day.  Double the recipe for 4.

This cream sauce would be fantastic in a plethora of dishes.  Toss it with your favorite pasta (linguini, fettuccine, pappardelle…) or add Italian sausage, vegetables, chicken etc.

Let creativity and availability of time and ingredients be your guide.



The grand finale ~ Easy, quick and delizioso!





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