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Easy Tomato Sauce for pasta and more

24/01/2011

…and not just pasta, it can be used for hundreds of things. Being a busy mum I always get to about 11.30am and think uh-oh they’re going to be hungry any time now so I start scrabbling around for pots and pans  and my usual lunch menu involves pasta – 1. they love it, 2. it’s good for you and 3. it can be served in a million different ways. I have shop bought tomato sauces in the cupboard as sometimes I am in a big hurry and they come in handy however I also make my own which can be varied. If I see the girls are leaving more vegetables than usual, I’ll add a larger variety of veg to my sauce and blitz it all up before serving on pasta, sausages, meatballs…even with fish.

Here’s the sauce and I think you’ll see most of the ingredients are most likley in your cupboard

  • olive oil
  • 1 onion
  • garlic – 1 clove and there won’t be any smelly breath 🙂
  • tin of chopped tomatoes
  • tomato puree
  • vegetable stock
  • bay leaf – optional
  • large pinch of sugar

So not only have you got most of the ingredients but it really is simple to make

  1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan add the onions and garlic and cook over a low heat stirring frequently until they are soft. Important they are soft otherwise they’ll be ‘crunchy’ in your sauce.
  2. Add the tin of tomatoes (you can use freshtomatoes  in the summer), puree, stock, bay leaf and sugar to take the acidic taste away. Season to taste.
  3. Bring to the boil, lower the heat and simmer for 10-15 mins stirring occasionally.
  4. Can be served as it is or can be blitzed for a smoother consistency.
  5. Serve on pasta with grated parmesan.

Quantity of one batch of basic sauce

Variants

 Vegetable sauce – add your veg (carrot, courgette, celery, broccoli etc) chopped up very finely or grated after softening the onion and allow extra cooking time to soften the vegetables. I find using a lid helps to keep the moisture in which in turn softens the veg more.

Tuna – ‘al tonno’ – after adding your tomatoes, puree, stock etc add also a can of drained tuna to the sauce and allow the same cooking time as the basic recipe

Salmon – ‘al salmone’ – I use the salmon trimmings which can be found in large supermarkets, in packets for under £1.00. Again add at the end of the cooking process and serve.

Bolognese – Minced beef, fry off in a pan and add your sauce to make as ‘wet’ as you please, allow to cook for 30 mins so as to draw out the taste of the mince. I have also tried this with turkey mince for the girls and they love it!

Hot ‘n spicy – with or without mince meat. Just add chilli powder or peperoncino to taste. Start with a teaspoon and add as you go. (I haven’t offered the girls this yet but they do eat some off daddy’s plate when he has it!)

Pasta al pomodoro or tomato sauce

Other things you can do with your basic tomato sauce

Sausage casserole – grill off your favourite sausages leaving the fat to drip out. Pop your sausages into a pan and add sufficient sauce to cover. Simmer over a low heat for 20 mins and serve with mash.

Chilli con carne – Cook off your minced beef, sprinkle with a tbsp of chilli powder add the basic tomato sauce , a tin of kidney beans and cook over a low heat for 15 mins. Serve with boiled rice.

Meatballs – grill or bake the meatballs to allow the fat to drip out. Add to your basic tomato sauce and cook for 15 mins. serve on pasta, with rice or with potatoes.

Two happy customers 🙂 Buon appetito girls

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Alessandra permalink
    24/01/2011 3:10 pm

    You can really spot a mile away that you used to live in Italy!!
    It all sounds delicious x

  2. 25/01/2011 12:08 pm

    Delicious. I would neber buy a canned sauce. I would rather just give the boys tinned toms and herbs

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