drew barrymore bucatini: fresh homemade pasta sauce.

drew barrymore taught me how to make fresh tomato sauce.

i have watched this clip of her making her pasta sauce with ellen about 500 times.

i sometimes just put that video on when i can't think of anything to watch on youtube..which is kinda strange i guess haha. even with the vast expanse that is the world wide web, i still insist on watching this very clip over and over. it just makes me happy! if ya know anything about me its that i love ellen. soo much. and i love drew. soo much. put 'em together and i am entertained for life.

i just love drew. she is so enjoyable. and it is a total miracle of the universe that i had the opportunity to meet her and even have dinner with her with some friends after her book tour. my brain still explodes when i think about that night and the fact that my friend lauren casually called me the day before saying "so heyyy, would you wanna meet drew tomorrow?" ......"esssssssCuuuUSE ME?!?!?! whatchu just say??" i died. 

i've loved her since the E.T. days, and being around her in person super solidified all the reasons why i love her. she was so cool and down to earth.  just by coincidence, she had some sort of pasta with tomato sauce at dinner that night. i remember she ate her noodles all fancy by twirling the fork into her spoon. classy broad.

anyhoo, her method of homemade pasta sauce that she made on ellen is my go-to when i have a bunch of fresh cherry tomatoes around. they are always better in the summertime when they're in season locally, but at other times of year i'll use grape tomatoes if cherries aren't available. 

cherry tomatoes are better to use for sauce because they're juicier, more plump, with a thinner skin. grape tomatoes seem to have a thicker skin that doesn't break down as well as the cherries do, but they'll still do the trick.

i've made this many times and i've figured out how i like it the best. i add chopped up zucchini and a serrano pepper. and extra olive oil in the sauce. the combination of everything is perfectly juicy, earthy, and pleasantly spicy with a rich texture.

and "fresh basil every 5 minutes," as drew says. haha. 

i roasted the whole head of garlic in the oven just to have around. you could use fresh garlic cloves in the sauce, but roasted garlic smells amahhhzing and its so rich, sweet and flavorful.

just slice the cherry tomatoes in half and you're on your way to delicious fresh tomato sauce.

for the zucchini, i slice it into rounds and then stack some of them to chop it easily into bits.

with a good amount of olive oil, fresh or roasted garlic, juicy cherry tomatoes, minced serrano, chopped zucchini, fresh basil, and salt, you can have a rich & flavorful pasta sauce ready in about 20 minutes.

tomato sauce-quinnsplace_9.jpg

drew recommends fresh bucatini, which are plump spaghetti noodles. i got this pack when i was at eataly in new york city, and its great. i really love the texture of bucatini - its just a bit of a better chew than regular spaghetti noodles.

after the pasta is cooked, i toss it with olive oil so it doesn't stick together. then lay on the tomato sauce and some extra basil leaves. 

this version of the sauce is vegan - but it would also be super tasty with some sort of flavorful ground beef or spicy sausage.

i always think its exciting when you can make things from scratch and adjust the ingredients as you like. i'd never actually made my own tomato sauce until drew showed us all how. ya never know where you're going to learn a new life skill!

i shall now refer to this as my drew b. bucatini. even though it doesn't have to be made with bucatini...  drew b. bucatini just sounds right. 

Homemade Tomato Pasta Sauce

Makes about 2 cups of tomato sauce

Time: 30 minutes


  • 24 oz. cherry tomatoes (mostly red - some green & yellow are ok)
  • 3-5 TB. olive oil
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • 6 cloves roasted garlic*, or 4 raw garlic cloves (you can roast the garlic days in advance - store in airtight container in fridge)
  • 1 serrano pepper, seeded & minced
  • 1/2 a large zucchini, chopped into bits
  • 1/2 - 3/4 cup fresh chopped basil
  • fresh bucatini pasta (1 inch diameter bunch)


* To roast the head of garlic, heat oven to 375 degrees F. Cut 1/4 inch off the top, remove most of the paper covering and discard. Pour a teaspoon of olive oil on the cloves to soak (about 5 minutes). Place in a baking dish or oven safe dish covered in foil. Roast in the oven for 40 minutes or until golden brown on top.

Wash all the veggies and slice the tomatoes in half. Chop the serrano pepper and zucchini. 

In a large pan, heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil on medium/low heat and add the garlic. If using roasted garlic, mash it up in the olive oil with a wooden spoon. If using fresh garlic, toss it in the olive oil until the garlic begins to brown.

Add all the cherry tomatoes and increase heat to medium. Let all the juices from the tomatoes heat and simmer together for about ten minutes, stirring frequently. Add the chopped zucchini, serrano pepper, salt & pepper, and some fresh basil. Stir to combine.

If you're having pasta, at this point begin boiling a large pot of water. Cook your pasta as desired and strain the water. Return the noodles to the pot and drizzle a couple tablespoons of olive oil on the cooked pasta. Gently toss the noodles. 

Continue to let the tomatoes simmer on medium/low heat for about ten more minutes, until the sauce begins to thicken. Add extra handfuls of fresh chopped basil every few minutes and stir into the sauce. 

Serve your desired amount of bucatini with the fresh tomato sauce while its hot. Top with extra basil and freshly grated parmesan cheese if desired. 

enjoy with a glass of red wine and garlic bread for best results :)

^^^ brain explosion happening in this moment. my face couldn't cheese any cheesier. clearly she's my best friend in my wildest dreams.

you da best, drew b.!