I’ve a confession to make, I have an almost phobia about jars of tomato pasta sauce. Pesto is ok, and other package df food- chicken nuggets, packet soup, potato waffles but I cannot bear pasta sauce.
Why? Because possibly, OK, definitely because I overdosed on it in college, back when Dolmio stir-in sauces were invented.
I do like to eat a nice tomato pasta sauce so I make it all the time. We don’t actually call it tomato sauce though, two of my children don’t eat tomatoes so when No. 2 son hated tomatoes on a holiday in Italy when he was 2, pasta sauce became known as “pomodoro” in our house and it stuck.
Over the years I’ve made different versions of “pomodoro” but they all have passata/tinned tomatoes, basil and carrot in them.
The holy trinity of onion, celery and carrot gives this one a nice sweet base but I do still add a sprinkle (less than half a teaspoon) of sugar to counter the acidity of the tomatoes.
This most recent incarnation has been heralded my best sauce yet, so I thought I’d share the recipe here. The sundried tomatoes are by no means essential, I happened to have a jar from Aldi in the fridge so I threw a couple in. I’ve often added peppers of courgettes to this sauce too, it’s fab with pasta on its own, or with chicken, or chorizo and beans. Water it down and it’s soup. My freezer is full of it, I use it mostly for Pick and Mix pasta night but fully intend to use it as a base sauce for pizza too, I just haven’t gotten around to it!
1 small onion
1 stick celery
1 small carrot
1 clove garlic
500ml passata or a 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
Dried or fresh basil
Chicken stock cube (I use Knorr stockpot)
2-3 sundried tomatoes
Pinch of sugar
Finely chop a small onion and a stick of celery, grate a carrot and fry with a clove of garlic (or teaspoon of garlic paste) in a little olive oil until the veg are soft.
Add either a 500ml carton of passata OR a 400g tin of tomatoes.
Add two or three chopped sundried tomatoes (optional, I get them in Aldi in a jar) a half teaspoon of sugar, a teaspoon of dried basil, salt and pepper to taste and a chicken stock cube and simmer for about twenty minutes very low.
Blend as if you were making it for a tiny baby who had just started weaning til it’s as smooth as if it had come out of a jar.
If you’d like a creamy sauce add a tablespoon of creme fraiche.