Monday, 8 April 2013

The simplest of Tomato Sauces

Some time ago I realised that I spend a huge amount of time trying to put together a decent tomato sauce. Be it a quick leftovers pasta dinner, a proper spag bol or my very non-Italian lasagne a good tomato sauce is mandatory. Sometimes my stabs at it have worked beautifully sometimes not.

A lot of rummaging around recipes came up with hundreds of 'basic tomato sauce' recipes that were clearly fabulous but immensely time consuming and impractical to throw together at the end of the day. The other night however I was putting together leftovers in the truest tradition of there-is-nothing-to-eat-in-the-house and came up with this concoction.

If I'm really honest it isn't a sauce so much as a cross between sauce and a casserole. It is however the perfect base for most tomatoey dinners. After a few more goes (we've all cooked something amazing with leftovers and never managed it again) and I think it's is pretty good staple and perfect to be made in vast quantities for freezing. This is enough for 4 sturdy portions

Two tins of Chopped tomatoes
2-3 cloves of Garlic (adjust to taste!)
Two onions
Olive oil
Bay leaves (not essential but very good)

1. Chop the onion, no need to be too careful this is rustic!
2. Heat the oil in a pan and add the onions. Keep stirring until they are softening.
3. Finely chop the garlic and add to the onions. Keep stirring until everything is golden brown then add the tins of tomato and a good squeeze of tomato paste.
4. Add seasoning and bay leaves and simmer gently for about half an hour until it it looks like a thick and juicy sauce.

I quite like it chunky but if you are looking for a smooth sauce give it a quick whizz in a blender and voila!

From here the world is your tomato. I've added red pepper at the frying onion stage, red wine if there is leftover glass looking for a home, bacon.....have a look in the fridge.

Last time we paired it with meatballs and pasta. A nice sprinkling of cheese on top and there is one hearty dinner with plenty left over for lunch. (It actually tastes better the next day. All the more reason to make loads for freezing.)

Top Tip: Half cook some pasta and add some sauce for re-heating in the microwave at work. By half cooking the pasta it won't go soggy and horrible in the reheating process.

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