Saturday, 18 June 2011

Recipe: Fresh Tomato Sauce for Pasta (Mascarpone and Basil Options)

Put a good glug of olive oil in a medium saucepan over a low heat. The actual recipe I use states 8-10tbsps but that seems ever such a lot. Peel a small onion and fry gently in the oil for 6-8 minutes, stirring occasionally. The onions should be translucent and golden in colour. Cooking them for this long gives the sauce its sweetness.

Roughly chop a punnet of ripe fresh tomatoes (approx 750g) and add to the pan. I tend to chop them on a plate rather than a board to stop the juices escaping. Peel three cloves of garlic and add them whole to the pan. Season well with freshly ground pepper. You could add salt too but I don't think it is needed. Break the tomatoes down a little with a wooden spoon.

Add either a 400g tin of tomatoes or a small carton of passata. Add 100ml of vegetable stock and turn the heat up until it begins to simmer. Cook for approx 30-45 minutes. I often transfer it to the slow cooker as it means I don't need to keep an eye on it.

At this point you could blitz the sauce with a hand blender, check the seasoning and serve as it is. I prefer to add a handful of fresh basil and a small tub of mascarpone cheese, warm through and then blitz it.

I feed two adults and four children most evenings. I find this recipe makes enough for two meals so I freeze half for another day. Another variation is to add a few teaspoons of dried red chilli flakes rather than the mascarpone for a spicy version more suited to adults.

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