This week, I helped my son Zach make a big transition: moving from NYC out to Denver, Colorado. Zach is my only child, and has been living close to me since college, so this is a huge change for me. When I first moved to NYC I came as an aspiring dancer, and Zach continues that tradition as a musician, dancer, and producer. We love to have fun in the kitchen and dance while we cook. I love having Zach (and his wonderful fiancé!) over for dinner, and more often than not, I recruit him to help me in the kitchen. As he grows and thrives as a musician, I’m so incredibly proud of him, but will miss having him around. As he spent his last few nights at my apartment after his place had been all packed up for the move, we started remembering memories from his childhood.

Zach and Pamela

Showing Zach how I like to garnish my pasta. Mother knows best!

One of my favorites included Zach’s obsession with tortellini. He called them “linis” and, more often than not, would accept no substitutes for dinner. While I would have rather tried out my new recipes on him, I would eventually secede and, as a compromise, I would whip up my favorite tomato sauce. Now, I was very grateful Zach was a good eater, but the tortellini fixation was endless! A simple, fresh, and bright tomato sauce, my special sauce was perfect for the “linis,” and any other pasta I made for my family and guests. Using whole tomatoes, fresh basil, and a few pepper flakes for spice, my sauce was a bright spot in every dish! To spice things up, I now use an anchovy to create an umami flavor, something I definitely couldn’t have done when Zach was younger!

Through the years, Zach learned how to make this tomato sauce on his own and I’ve adapted it to my healthier lifestyle, but we love a good collaboration! He still talks about the memories the smell of the sauce invokes when he cooks it at home. As this week is Mother’s Day I thought I’d take the time to talk about how important the combination of food and family is to me. Sharing family recipes and being able to recreate memories in your kitchen years and decades later is a great way to keep your family history thriving! As a big foodie family a lot of our tradition stems from cooking and eating, and I hope that sharing this with you today will inspire you in your own kitchens.

Best Tomato Sauce Recipe
Best Tomato Sauce Recipe
Print Recipe Best Tomato Sauce Recipe
Author: Pamela Morgan


  • 1 onion, minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 28-oz can whole tomatoes, organic preferred
  • …OR substitute 2 pounds fresh real plum (Roma) tomatoes. Cut each in half, squeeze out seeds, and chop into bite-sized pieces
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 anchovy
  • 1 block Parmesan


  • In a large sauté pan, heat 2 tablespoons oil. When hot, add onions and cook until transparent. Add garlic and simmer. Add anchovy. Add tomatoes to pan and break up using a wooden spoon. Simmer for 10 minutes on high heat. Halfway through, add red pepper, sugar, salt, and oregano.
  • In the meantime, cook desired pasta and grate Parmesan. When pasta and sauce are finished cooking and still hot, combine and top with Parmesan!

Keep cooking with your children! They will remember this later.

Music courtesy of Zach Maxwell! Hear more of his music here!