At least once a year I manage to fool myself into buying a jar of pasta sauce. Usually when I’m pressed for time. I’ll pick up a jar and fall prey to descriptions of juicy tomatoes and fresh basil and before I know it the jar has been popped into my basket. Then, when it comes time to use it, I’m always hugely disappointed. The flavours never really come through. I think the reason this upsets me is that I know how easy it is to whip up an amazing sauce in the time it takes to cook the pasta.
If I’m really in a rush, I will literally just roast tomatoes and garlic together and then blend them with some aged Pecorino and some fresh basil. If I have a little more time on my hands, I make this sauce.
- 6-8 small ripe tomatoes
- 1 onion
- 1 carrot
- 2 celery stalks
- 10 cloves of garlic
- 50 gms of a hard, sharp cheese like Pecorino or Parmesan
- 1 Tbs of tomato puree
- olive oil
- a splash of white wine or white wine vinegar
- fresh basil to taste
- coarse salt
Cut the tomatoes in halves or quarters and place, with the garlic cloves, skins still on, on a baking tray. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and then roast at 200°C for about 20-30 mins.
Pour a good glug of olive oil into a medium pot and bring to a low heat. Then add the finely sliced onion and allow it to cook slowly for about 20 mins until just starting to caramelize. Now would also be a good time to start bringing a large pot of water to boil to cook the pasta.
Dice the carrot and celery as finely as you can and add to the just starting to caramelize onion and allow to cook for a further 5 mins.
While the carrot and celery are cooking, remove the roasting tin with the garlic and the tomatoes from the oven. Once the garlic cloves have cooled slightly, grab them from the base and squeeze the garlic out of it’s skin. Add this and the tomatoes to the onion, carrot, celery mix. Don’t be alarmed at the number of garlic cloves. They will have softened in flavour during roasting.
Cook the pasta as per the packet instructions and then drain the pasta in a colander and put back into the pot it was cooked in. Top with the tomato sauce and serve with some crunchy garlic bread. Simple and seriously tasty!