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Tomato sauce made from scratch really is the best and it basically cooks itself. Italian staple, it can be used on pasta or pizza, for preparation of bolognese or to smother some delicious meatballs.
Don’t buy the jar stuff. Okay, some of it isn’t too bad and you might be in a rush but I consider it quite an outrage if you should go to the effort for instance of making your own pizza, dough, proving, shaping and all – and then smear some shop-bought stuff over it!
Debatable if it’s tastier made out of fresh tomatoes or the tinned ones, provided they are good quality (San Marzano are the stuff of legends and rightly so). I have quite a glut of tomatoes this summer (home grown! ripened! in the south of England!) so I went the hardcore way, skinning, de-seeding and chopping the fruit.
The secret ingredients are mustard, honey and a few drops of Worcestershire sauce.
WHAT TO USE IT ON
Pizza. Pasta. Meatballs. Potato bake. Courgette gratin. Melanzane parmigiana. Try also baking a salmon fillet covered in the sauce – delishhh, and quite a bit more gutsy than boring grilled fish. For that, you might want to throw some chopped olives and a few capers in. You can add chillies if you like it hot but I personally believe tomato sauce is about tomatoes, not heat.
Score each fruit crosswise and put in a bowl with boiling water to cover them all well. Drain them after a couple of minutes and the skins will peel easily. Deseed them. The smaller ones can be just squeezed, the large ones cut in half – and squeezed.
tomato sauceServings: makes about a pint of sauceTime: 2-3 hours
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- 2-3 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
- 2 pounds fresh tomatoes, skinned as above and chopped
- 1 tsp honey
- 1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1 heaped tsp tomato puree (unless your tomatoes are SO ripe they shout ‘no puree!’ to you)
- salt and black pepper
- a handful of basil leaves, chopped finely
1. Heat the oil in a large pan and add the garlic, only to warm it up; don't let it colour.
2. Add the chopped tomatoes (or the contents of a tin), honey, Worcestershire sauce, tomato puree and season generously with salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer so that it bubbles vigorously and cook over medium heat for 2 hours. The end product should be thick, unctuous stuff.
3. If the tomatoes haven’t broken down completely and you want a smooth rather than chunky sauce, mash them up with a potato ricer while they cook. Stir in the basil leaves after the sauce is off the heat.