Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Tomato Sauce

I make this mainly for pasta, with or without various extras (see below), but it's also great as a pizza topping. The long cooking time and the addition of butter at the end makes the tomatoes sweet without any harshness or bitterness. While it's not a quick recipe, it is extremely easy and preparation is very quick - it's just that it needs to cook for a while!

Tomato Sauce

Makes: 4 portions of pasta sauce, or topping for 8 individual pizzas
Takes: 5 minutes + 1 hour cooking time


1 tbsp olive oil
1 small clove garlic, peeled and finely chopped (I use a small amount from a jar of ready-prepared garlic)
2 400g tins peeled plum tomatoes
1 tbsp butter
a few basil leaves (optional)

  1. Heat the oil and add the garlic, then cook until the garlic is softened but not browned.
  2. Add the tomatoes and break them up with a wooden spoon.
  3. Bring to the boil then turn right down to simmering point, cover, and cook gently for about an hour, stirring occasionally.
  4. The sauce should be quite thick, without any 'liquid' layer at the top. Take the pan off the heat and add the butter. Stir until the butter melts. Add the basil, torn into pieces, if desired.
Other herbs, dried or fresh, could be added - basil should only go in at the end but other herbs could be added with the tomatoes.

Other variations might be: Add finely chopped onion with the garlic and cook until translucent before adding the tomatoes; fry sliced some mushrooms with the garlic till golden; add small pieces of bacon, fried until crispy (I like this better if you cook the bacon separately and add it after cooking the sauce); any of your own ideas!

The Boy likes this as is, with fusilli pasta. The Doctor and I are more likely to have it with fresh filled pasta, such as ravioli or tortellini. A sprinkling of grated cheese on top is also yummy ;-)