Thursday, 12 July 2012

My versatile tomato sauce

This is one of my favourite makes. My kids love pasta, and usually ask for it with this basic tomato sauce, which I make myself. It's a great sauce and is really versatile...I've used it as a base to mix with mince for bolognaise and lasagna; as a base for soup; served cold as a dip; on homemade pizza; as a layer in a spinach and ricotta quiche; and I also vary it by adding different herbs and sometimes vegetables that are a bit past their best to make a hidden vegetable sauce too.

No pics I'm afraid because it got wolfed down so quickly I didn't get a chance to get the camera out!

This recipe makes a really large batch, so I freeze half for another day:

2 tins of tomatoes (chopped or plum)
1 medium onion, roughly chopped
1 clove of garlic (or 1 cube if using frozen)
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp tomato puree
1 tsp dried oregano
A pinch of sugar
A little olive oil

In a saucepan, fry the onion in oil until just softening, then add the garlic. Fry for another minute or so, then add the tinned tomatoes.
I then half fill each can with water and add this to the saucepan. (This helps thin the sauce, but also rinses the tins for recycling too).
Let this come up to simmering point and then add the vinegar, sugar, oregano and puree, stir and continue to simmer for around 15-20minutes.
I use a stick blender to blend until smooth as neither I or the kids like lumpy tomatoes, but you could leave it with some texture if you prefer.

The longer you can simmer the sauce the richer it will be, but I'd suggest 15minutes is the quickest you'd want to do it.
If using other vegetables too, add them with the tomatoes - fresh tomatoes, peppers, and mushrooms all work really well, but I've also used carrots and aubergines.You could also add fresh basil right at the end.
Wait until completely cold if freezing, and always let thaw before reheating thoroughly - you'll find it might split a bit when freezing, but it comes back together when reheated.

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