Basic tomato sauce

We need to start somewhere, so let’s kick off with something I’ve been messing around with for years. Just about any Italian cookbook will contain something similar to this, so I’ve made it as non-specific as possible...

INGREDIENTS:

2 400g tins chopped tomatoes

2 cloves garlic, peeled

Herbs, spices and other flavouring ingredients of your choice. I usually go for sprigs of aromatic herbs (rosemary, thyme, marjoram etc.) or chillies..

METHOD:Put tomatoes in a large saucepan. Peel garlic cloves and add them whole, with whatever other flavouring ingredients you’ve chosen, to tomatoes. Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer gently for long enough to reduce and thicken to sauce consistency. 

Where you go from here depends on the way you’re planning to use the sauce. Start by removing the garlic cloves (unless you’re planning on keeping vampires at bay, in which case they can stay). If you’ve used herb sprigs for flavouring, they should be removed at this stage.

If you’re after a chunky sauce for a pizza or pasta dish, use the sauce as is. 

If you’re after a smoother version, purée sauce in an electric blender until smooth. 

Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper and use as desired.

I like to serve this with meat-filled pasta shapes (ravioli or tortellini) rather than using a standard bolognese sauce.

 © Ian Hughes 2014