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Tomato and Basil Sauce for Pasta 5 July 2006

Posted by cath in easy, freeze-friendly, Recipes, variations, vegetables.
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Tomato Sauce, perhaps the most wonderful thing you can do in the kitchen! Tomatoes are in season right now, so go and buy some and try this!

Pasta and Sauce

Tomato and Sausage sauce with Pasta

garnished with Basil leaves and grated cheese

 

How to make a basic tomato sauce:

Step 1, buy some good quality tomatoes – preferably from a local source, not the supermarket – honestly they will taste much better. I recommend J & M Craig, Carluke, available from the Castle Terrace Farmers Market in Edinburgh.

Step 2, roughly chop the most ripe tomatoes, skin, seeds and all. For 2-3 people you’ll need about 500g – scale the recipe up or down as required, it keeps well in the fridge or freezer.

Step 3, roughly chop 1 large or 2 small onions and a few cloves of garlic.

 

Cooking:

  1. Heat some olive oil in a pan.
  2. Add the onions and sweat down on a medium heat until translucent.
  3. Then add the garlic and cook for about a minute.
  4. Now add the tomatoes, stir and cook for a minute or two until they start to soften.
  5. Once the tomatoes are hot, turn down the heat and half-cover the pan.
  6. With the heat on very low, stirring occasionally, cook for about an hour (minimum) until the sauce has thickened and sweetened. Turn off the heat.
  7. Now add salt and pepper to taste.
  8. Finally, throw in some chopped fresh herbs, basil or parsley are excellent.
  9. Serve with pasta and top with some grated cheese (Parmesan style)

 

Final adjustments:

If the sauce is too runny, try boiling it down without a lid until you get the desired consistency.

If the sauce is quite thick, add a few spoons of the water you use to cook the pasta in, again, keep going until you get the consistency you want.

Drizzle some extra virgin olive oil into the sauce at the end for a slightly richer flavour.

If you’re fussy about tomato skin and pips, you can use a sieve or press the finished sauce to remove them, but I think the chunky texture works well and saves loads of time!

 

Variations:

As well as the classic tomato and basil, you can combine many different things into this sauce. It also works as a base for bolognese, chilli con carne or anything that needs a bit of tomato sauce.

Add a bit of fried pancetta, cooked sausages, sliced chorizo or salami or anything meaty for a quick meaty pasta sauce (see picture above).

Add mushrooms (fried or cooked in the sauce), spinach, other vegetables, more herbs – rosemary, thyme, oregano, marjoram for veggie pasta sauces.

Add chillies – I hope soon to be adding my homegrown chillies to the sauce for a bit of a kick…, olives, capers, anchovies…the list is endless.

Try your favourite ingredients…use something different every time. Dinner never got so easy!

 

Tip!

Get some really good quality dry pasta – macaroni, penne, spaghetti, spaghettini, linguine, whatever you like. The best pasta is rough on the outside, rather than smooth (which is a quality of mass production).

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