Deputy Editor Vivian Zhou has been keeping this delicious secret to herself… but she’s ready to share her hack to the best, restaurant-quality tomato cream pasta with you now. 

You may have seen my Instagram story or food posts, or you may have heard through the grapevine that I cook a lot. Or maybe I’m tooting my own horn and you have no idea who I am. But I’m coming out with a confession– that delicious creamy tomato pasta sauce is not made from scratch, no. It’s not store-bought pasta sauce either, because that never tastes right. I know people love using vodka sauce or tomato sauce from the jar, but that always felt like a cop-out to me. So what do I do to make my sauce? Two words: Trader Joe’s.

Now I swear this isn’t an ad and we aren’t affiliated with Trader Joe’s (though we wish we were). But the KEY ingredient to a simple, 5-10 minute, delicious pasta dish is Trader Joe’s Creamy Tomato Soup. I know, you’re thinking, SOUP??? But trust me on this. Next time you go to Trader Joe’s or a friend asks if you want anything from there, ask for the creamy tomato soup– I prefer the low sodium version because it’s healthier. Then do this:

  1. Cook any type of pasta you want, doesn’t matter what shape, until it’s not completely cooked (around 2-3 more minutes left until it’s done).
  2. While the pasta is cooking, cut up the veggies and proteins you want to put in your pasta. Some combinations I have tried: sausage and broccoli, sausage and spinach, and zucchini and salmon (thinly sliced). Sometimes I also add some tomatoes to make it feel like I made this sauce from fresh tomatoes.
  3. Add all the ingredients you just prepared into the pan with some olive oil and toss it around.
  4. When the pasta is done, drain it and put it in the pan with all the ingredients.
  5. Pour in as much tomato soup as you think is appropriate– I usually do enough to drench everything in the pan and a little more.
  6. Cook on high heat until the creamy tomato soup is reduced to a creamy tomato sauce. Make sure you’re stirring everything around so nothing burns in the process.
  7. Voila! You’ve made a delicious pasta that took next to no time and now everyone is calling you a chef. Culinary schools scream your name. Gordon Ramsay is begging for your attention.

pasta via bwog staff