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Monday, 4 February 2013

Simple Tomato Sauce

This tomato sauce forms the basis to a lot of my cooking. It's great as a pasta sauce. Just boil some penne pasta and add some shavings of parmesan as a final flourish for a simple weekday dinner. The sauce can also be used as a base for spaghetti bolognese or sausage casserole or as the topping for homemade pizza. Honestly it's that versatile. Luckily it's really straightforward and quick to make. It's also great for disguising a large number of vegetables for little mouths. This is easiest done using a food processor - try blitzing courgettes, mushrooms and carrots and adding them to the sauce.

Serves 4
1 large tin of chopped tomatoes (try and buy good quality as these tins contain more fruit. I usually use Napolina)
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 tsp mixed herbs
1 dash worcestershire sauce
1 tsp sugar (this complements the sweet tomatoes perfectly.)
1 tbsp tomato puree
1 vegetable stock cube
Salt and pepper
Splash of olive oil

1. Begin by chopping the onions, garlic and any other vegetables you wish to use. A food processor makes this really easy.
2. Heat the oil in a pan and add the vegetables. Fry on a medium heat until they are softened but not colouring. Adding a little salt is helpful as it helps to draw the moisture out of the vegetables and stop them burning.
3. If you want a smooth sauce, blitz the chopped tomatoes in food processor or simply add passata. Add the tomatoes of your choice to the frying vegetables.
4. Fill the empty tin of tomatoes with water and wash into the pan - this ensures that no tomato is wasted.
5. Add the sugar, mixed herbs, tomato puree, vegetable stock cube, salt and pepper and worcester sauce to the pan.
6. Cover with a lid and cook for the desired time - minimum ten minutes. The longer it cooks for, the richer flavour. A maximum of one and half hours.

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