Basil, Tomato and Garlic Sauce

This week has been a bit of a crazy one, so I haven’t been able to bake ANYTHING and I’m starting to feel withdrawal symptoms!  I’ve even had to rely on my very versatile tomato sauce for dinner, which is one of my favourite standbys and is delicious on pizza bases, hot dogs, or even on it’s own with pasta.  It is also a very yummy alternative as a gravy for creamy mashed potatoes if you’re tired of the standard bangers and mash.  It takes less than 20 minutes to prepare and freezes well, so doubling or tripling this recipe is a great way to ensure you have it on hand if you’re stuck at the last minute wondering what to make for dinner.

I’ve also used it as a veggie dip when guests arrive unexpectedly and I have no other dips on hand, heaping it onto salty chips (crisps).  Lastly, it bubbles away gently in the oven smothering chicken breasts or thighs in it’s rich tomato depths, slowly morphing into a heart warming casserole.  It really is one of the easiest and quickest things to make and I far prefer this to relying on a jar of who-knows-what’s-really-inside ready made pasta sauce.

Versatile tomato sauce

ingredients:

splash of olive oil
1 onion, peeled and diced (brown, white or red, it doesn’t matter)
3 fat garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
400g fresh beautiful tomatoes (or a can if you don’t have fresh on hand)
a handful of torn fresh basil leaves (or ½ tsp dried basil)
a couple of fresh oreganum sprigs (discard the stems) (or ½ tsp of the dried herb)
2 Tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp sugar
pinch salt

Heat the oil and gently fry the onion and garlic.

Add tomatoes.  If using fresh tomatoes and you’d like to remove the skins, cut a cross in the underside of each tomato and blanch the whole fruit in a bowl of hot water for about 30 seconds.  The skins will burst and curl and are easily removed and discarded, but I tend to leave them on.

Add herbs, tomato paste, sugar and salt and simmer for 10 – 15 minutes. Mash with a fork occasionally or puree in a food processor if you prefer a smoother consistency. Please let the sauce cool down before you blitz it as hot sauce often finds a way to burst out of a sealed food processor and make a huge mess. I know from experience :).

This recipe makes enough for 2 large pizzas.

Enjoy!

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