Monday, 17 August 2009

Slow cooked tomato sauce

This sauce can be made in advance, for example over the weekend, and also freezes well. So preparing dinner on a Monday or any other weekday night won't take any time at all. Just cook some pasta or gnocchi, throw together a quick salad and you have a tasty meal. The sauce also goes well with grilled fish. Or use it to top grilled pork chops, add a slice of mozzarella and grill for a minute or two until the cheese is melting.

3x 440ml tins of chopped tomatoes in thick sauce - you can also use tinned tomatoes in tomato juice
2 onions, finely chopped
4-5 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 fresh or dry bay leaves, rolled up and held together with a cocktail stick
120ml extra virgin olive oil
50ml red wine or 1tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 lightly heaped tsp brown sugar
freshly ground black pepper
sea salt

1. Heat the oil in a heavy saucepan, e.g. Le Creuset, and gently fry the onions and garlic for approx. 5 minutes until tender but not browned.

2. Pour in the tomatoes and stir through.

3. Season with pepper and salt. Add the bay leaf, sugar and wine. Stir, cover and bring to the boil.

4. Turn the heat low and simmer gently for about 1 1/2 to 2 hours stirring occasionally.

5. About 15 minutes, before the end of the cooking time, take the lid off to let some of the liquid evaporate and thicken the sauce. Remove the bay leaves and check the seasoning before serving.

1. Use dried basil instead of bay leaves.
2. Add some sun dried tomatoes and/or black olives.
3. Add some fresh chilli to give the sauce a bit (or a lot of) heat.

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