Where has the summer gone? It sounds terribly cliché, but I really cannot believe it is September 1st! I am definitely ready for the routine that comes with fall, as the weather starts to change I crave different food, and I’m inspired by different ingredients in the kitchen. Last night I posted my dinner on Instagram and promised I would share the simple recipe. Even for me (someone who loves to cook!), I find it extremely handy to have prepared meals in the freezer… There are days, where I just don’t feel like cooking, run out of time, or don’t quite have all of the ingredients I need for what I had planned. There are certain recipes that just make sense to double when you’re cooking them, there often doesn’t have to be more effort or time put into the recipe, and it means you have a quick meal in the freezer for a busy day, or a day where you just don’t feel like cooking. I find that the recipes that are easy to bulk up like this, are sometimes the simplest of recipes. This was definitely the case last night. A tweaked version of Marcella Hazan’s Simple Tomato Sauce. I now have enough sauce in the freezer for another meal, all I have to do is boil some pasta. If I have leftover chicken from the night before great, if I want to add some raw veggies, I can… But it’s a healthy and nutritious meal on it’s own. For anyone that has read my blog, they know I am a firm believer in preparing food from scratch, and there are things we can do to make our lives simpler in the chaotic world we live in… This is one of them. Food doesn’t have to be complicated, nor does it have to take endless amounts of time to be tasty and healthy. It does take some planning, and it generally means (especially in a simple recipe like this) you have to be using the best ingredients you have access to. If you’re making a single batch of this it can be made in less than 30 minutes, if you’re doubling it, you’ll have to let it simmer a bit longer, but while that’s happening, you can be catching up on emails, reading to your kids, enjoying a glass of wine, or just relaxing… And it means you don’t have to cook one night in the next few weeks.
Tweaked Marcella Hazan’s Simple Tomato Sauce
*I am giving you the quantities for a single recipe
2 tbsp olive oil
½ onion, chopped finely
1 clove of garlic, crushed
1 can D.O.P tinned tomatoes
2 – 3 tbsp of oregano, basil, or parsley
salt, pepper and sugar to taste
olive oil, to finish
250g of uncooked spaghetti
Heat the olive oil over a medium heat, add the onion, season with salt and pepper, and sweat gently until tender. Add the crushed garlic clove, stirring until you can just smell it, tip in the tinned tomatoes and a good pinch of sugar (tip – always add a pinch of sugar when using tinned tomatoes, it brightens the flavour). Simmer gently for 15 – 20 minutes, stirring occasionally to break up the tomatoes. You want some of the liquid to reduce, leaving you with a sauce more than liquid and tomatoes. Meanwhile bring a large pot of water to the boil, add 2 tsp of salt once at the boil, and the pasta, cook according to package, being careful not to over cook.
Add a handful of torn basil leaves or 2 – 3 tbsp of chopped fresh oregano (or herb of your choice) to the sauce, taste, and adjust seasoning, adding more salt, pepper and sugar (if needed), to taste.
Toss with cooked pasta, finish with a drizzle of good olive oil and serve with freshly grated Parmesan.
If you’re doubling the recipe, you may need to let it simmer longer.
When using tinned tomatoes, always add a good pinch of sugar per tin, it brightens the flavour.
Never add salt to water before it has come to the boil, if you end up letting it boil for too long, you’ll end up with saltier water than you were looking for, affecting the overall flavour of whatever it is you’re cooking. Add it just as the water has come to the boil.
Dried pasta – De Cecco
Tinned tomatoes – Emma (or any other D.O.P brand at The Italian Centre)
Olive oil – Sammarelli
My goal is to get better about blogging, and share recipes and tips and tricks with you from The Ruby Apron’s kitchen – whether it be my favourite kitchen tool, a vendor I love, or a new recipe I’ve just tried.
“Cooking from scratch is the single most important thing we could do as a family to improve our health and general well being.” – Micahel Pollan