August 31, 2012 by Bloke In A Kitchen
Tomato Sauce – for perfect pasta, pizzas, lasagne and a lot more besides …
If you love pasta, or want to make your own pizzas, forget the tomato pasta sauces from the supermarket. This is one of those quick recipes infinitely cheaper and tastier to make yourself. (I won’t bore you on exactly how bad I think most of the supermarket versions taste – yes, even the really expensive ones). I nearly always have a batch of this on the go, or stored away in the fridge ready for a quick tasty pasta meal.
This is a basic recipe, but as good as any you’ll find. Like so much Italian food, it’s amazing how, with just a few simple ingredients, you can create something so darn luscious. The following recipe will make enough sauce for several large servings of pasta.
* PLEASE NOTE: To make this really recipe really authentic, you’ll need to play some loud, dramatic Italian opera, (preferably Puccini), and then you’re ready to begin cooking;
Olive oil – several glugs, enough to cover the bottom of a large saucepan
3 bulbs of garlic – finely chopped
2 x 400g cans of good quality chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp of dried oregano
1 or 2 tsp of sugar (optional)
Black pepper & salt to taste
Fresh basil leaves (optional)
Firstly add olive oil to a large-ish saucepan, when the oil is getting warm, add the garlic, and gently fry over a medium heat for about 1 minute, until the garlic softens. Add the chopped tomatoes, dried oregano and sugar, give it a good stir. Turn the heat up, and cook until it’s starting to bubble. Now you want to reduce the heat to a gentle simmer. Basically, you want all the watery liquid to reduce and reduce until you’re left with a fairly thick, lush, tomato sauce.
Give it a taste; add black pepper, fresh basil leaves, a touch more sugar perhaps. I like to add another small glug of olive oil too.
Add a very little salt if you wish, but too much can, in my opinion, kill the taste, and remember; you might well be serving this with cheese which might be tangy/slightly salty.
Every cook (especially loud, shouty Italian ones) will have their own variation on this wonderful sauce. You could sweat down a finely chopped onion before adding the garlic, a bit of fresh or dried chilli; add different herbs, or my personal favourite, a little lemon zest towards the end of the cooking process which adds a lovely fresh touch. Once you’ve mastered this sauce, feel free to experiment, which is the best way to get to know your ingredients and add your own touch to your cooking.
When serving, you just need enough sauce to coat the pasta. I think it’s best with a robust pasta shape such as Rigatone or Tagliatelle, some freshly grated cheese (preferably an Italian one such as Parmesan, though a good strong extra-mature cheddar goes surprisingly well), and some fresh basil sprinkled on top.
This sauce should keep for 3-4 days in the fridge.