The Basics, Veggie mains

Fresh tomato sauce for pasta

 

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If you grow your own tomatoes, or come across really good in season tomatoes in the market, then this is a great simple meal that really lets the flavour of the tomatoes shine. The flavour of the sauce will depend on the quality of the tomatoes you use as they are the basis of the dish. This will make a large bowl of pasta to serve 4- 5 people.

So what do you need?

  • 1.5kg tomatoes
  • An medium- sized onion
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Herbs (bay leaves / a bouquet garni, a handful of fresh basil)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 dried chillies (optional)

So what do I do?

If you’d rather not have the tomato skills in your sauce then peel them by either steaming them or blanching them in boiling water for a couple of minutes, until you see splits appear in their skin. Let them cool for a while so you can peel them. Meanwhile chop the onion finely and fry it in in the olive oil in a thick bottomed pan, as it begins to soften add the garlic (crushed) and peel the tomatoes. Then chop the tomatoes into chunks, keeping any juice from them. Add the chopped tomatoes to the pan and 3 or 4 bay leaves (or a bouquet garni) and add about 1/2 a tsp salt and some freshly ground pepper, if you want an arrabiata sauce then add the chillies at this point too.

Once the tomatoes have heated through simmer on a low heat stirring occasionally. The time this it takes to cook will vary depending on how juicy your tomatoes are but don’t rush this it’ll take about an hour. The sauce will thicken up as the tomatoes cook and the liquid evaporates. As the sauce reduces the flavours will intensify. Once the sauce seems almost done, taste it and season as necessary and add  most of the basil leaves, roughly torn and simmer for a few more minutes. Meanwhile cook your pasta. You will have enough sauce to go with 400 a 500g pasta, depending how much sauce you like with your pasta. Once the pasta is done drain it and then either in the pan or in a large bowl thoroughly coat the pasta in tomatoe sauce and serve with some Parmesan cheese (optional) and garnish with basil leaves.

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