Archive for October, 2011

Its almost winter and the summer fruit and vegetables are disappearing from the supermarket shelves. This brings on the urge to cook with them as much as possible before they disappear completely and one is faced with nothing but squashes and brassicas. I do love the comfort and earthiness of winter veg but I will get plenty of time to enjoy cooking with them so I might as well make hay while the sun shines.

I bookmarked this recipe as soon as the update appeared in my inbox and it turned out to be just as good as Deb made it sound on her blog.  Its a little more fiddly than opening a tin of plum tomatoes but there’s something very therapeutic about peeling and de-seeding tomatoes with your bare hands and if tomatoes are in season then the fresh flavour is worth the extra effort.

Use the best tomatoes you can otherwise you wont get as much flavour from the final dish and dont ask me why, but infusing the olive oil with the garlic, chilli and basil and adding it at the end instead of putting it into the sauce base does somehow add something special.

If you don’t like the thought of squishing tomatoes between your fingers and you have children (and you don’t mind cleaning your kitchen from top to bottom) then you could always outsource this job but why should someone else have all the fun.

The smitten kitchen recipe recommends using a potato masher to break down the tomatoes while they are cooking which is a clever approach if you don’t have any other tools to hand but I found I had to use an immersion blender to get the fine texture I wanted and I think it makes the sauce that much more velvety. Make sure you cook the sauce for long enough too so that the tomatoes get nice and concentrated otherwise it will be too watery and wont cling to your pasta properly (as Deb says you can always add some water from the pasta if you find you’ve gone too far).

Unfortunately I’m feeding a man who thinks I’ve failed as cook if I try to make him eat something that doesn’t have any meat in it so I served the sauce and pasta with meatballs I had tucked away in the freezer (just pan fried, not added to the sauce to keep the flavours separate) but if you’re not pandering to a carnivore then there’s no need. The recipe is about the tomatoes and adding meat just unnecessary. The beauty is the simplicity.


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