Tip number one:
Use garlic like there are vampires in your house.
Don't hesitate. Just add some more garlic. On average, I add about 1-2 cloves of garlic per serving of tomato based sauce. Choose one: mince or crush. Mince them well so they melt into the sauce like eternal bliss. Crush them throw them into the sauce let the flavors all come out then throw it away before serving. Don't do roughly chopped garlic, it's a waste of time.
Tip number two:
Pasta is cooked with love and not from impulsive urges of arousing inspiration.
Cook pasta in boiling water. Boiling. That means lots of excited bubbles and steam. If you throw in your pasta and the water stops boiling, you fail. Make sure your water is well salted. The water should taste almost like sea water. Cook your pasta for the amount of time indicated by the packet instructions minus 3-4 mins. Don't worry if it's under cooked, you will cook it again in sauce. Always allow pasta to steam dry before cooking in sauce. You want the sauce to coat it evenly.
Tip number three:
Use some science.
What you want from a good pasta sauce is nothing but good flavor. The sauce I prepared is still diluted. Diluted = bland, because there is too much liquid. We need to get rid of the water! Always reduce your tomato based sauce.
Here you see the very concentrated sauce. It is important you do not season the sauce until you are about to serve the pasta. Once we get the reduced sauce, it is time to maximize its flavor. We add fat to emulsify. The flavors intensify and become vibrant. I use extra virgin olive oil for the fat because it just tastes great.
Mix the fat into the reduced sauce over medium heat and stir until they emulsify. Taste and now is the right time to season.
Tip number four:
Keep your herbs alive.
Most of the times, herbs are essential if you want to make a good sauce. Here I have some basil. If you put your herbs into your sauce too early, they will wither and die. This is not only to the appearance of the herb but also to the flavor.
Add in herbs the last minute and stir for a minute or two. Time to add your pasta. Add herbs when you are about to finish your pasta in the sauce.
When finishing the pasta in the sauce, make sure to cook the pasta well and ensure that it isn't over cooked. The pasta should have a nice bite to it. That is what it means by the silly over used term, "AL DENTE".
Tip number five:
Chinese proverb: The cow's nipples are sore.
Sometimes, pasta is best appreciated without cheese. Never add cheese for the sake of adding cheese, because if so you're a pompous retard. =) Namaste.