- 4 tbl spoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 medium carrots, diced
- 3 stick celery, diced
- 5 or 6 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tbl spoons oregano
- 3 tbl spoons tomato paste
- 3 tins chopped tomoatoes
- 300ml water
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 tbl spoon blalsamic vinegar
Tomato Sauce, The cornerstone of Italian cooking is a great tomato sauce. With that as your starting point you can make so many different dishes. Add mascarpone for a tasty tomato and mascarpone sauce, red wine and beef mince for a bolognese. If you’re feeling particularly Italian then add olives, anchovies and capers for a Putanesca or simply spread it on some homemade pizza dough for your pizza sauce…
Firstly, chop up your onions, carrots and celery. Don’t worry about dicing them too small as we’re gonna blitz and pass it later. Heat up a big glug of extra virgin olive oil, and when it’s hot throw in the veg. Fry this until your onions are translucent and add your garlic. Don’t be shy with this, remember we’re in Italy! As soon as the garlic is in give it a stir and add oregano and a pinch of salt. Let these flavours cook out for 3 or 4 mins before adding tomato paste, then another 5 mins stirring constantly before adding your chopped tomatoes and water. Bring it to the boil then turn down to a medium heat. Add brown sugar and another pinch of salt then leave to simmer for about 25 mins. At this point I usually put a stick blender in and blitz it all up. Add water if necessary and boil for another 10 mins before taking off of the heat. When it’s cooled down a put a sieve over a jug and pour in the sauce. Use a metal whisk to push as much liquid through the sieve as you can. When you lift the sieve up there will be a lot of thick sauce on the underside, that’s the best bit so get it in there. This is called passing. Add balsamic vinegar and salt and black pepper to taste and you’re done. Your real job is to make sure you balance the sugar and salt correctly. So make sure you get it right and you’ll have an incredible sauce.
Lovely served over wholemeal pasta with black olives and wilted spinach.