Before I met Tom, I couldn’t really cook. I could make something that vaguely resembled a stir-fry and I was also good at omelettes, but that was pretty much it. I didn’t have much confidence in the kitchen, and before moving away from home I also didn’t have a lot of time for cooking – I spent most of my time playing the violin! But now, thanks mainly to Tom, I’m much better at cooking. Tom learnt watching his Mum when he was younger, and this tomato pasta sauce recipe is one of their standard family recipes which he has now passed on to me. It’s a great basic tomato sauce which you can use in any pasta dish, and it also makes fabulous pizza topping. We usually make a huge stock pot of this and freeze it in small batches, and it tastes even better after it has been frozen. And to make it even better, it’s both low-fat and low-cost. Yippee!
1 tbsp olive oil
1 large brown onion, finely chopped
3 tins chopped tomatoes
3 red or yellow peppers, diced
300g cup mushrooms, roughly chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tbsp Bouillon (or 1 vegetable stock cube)
2 tbsp mixed herbs
A dash of Henderson’s relish (or Tobasco)
A big squirt of tomato puree (apologies for the not very technical measurement!)
1. Heat the oil in a large pan. Add the onions and cook until soft. Add 1 tbsp of the mixed herbs and stir well before adding all 3 tins of chopped tomatoes. Add the rest of the herbs, the Bouillon (or crumble the stock cube into the pan), Henderson’s Relish, black pepper and tomato puree. Stir well and leave for about 10 minutes to simmer, stirring occasionally.
2. Add the peppers and garlic and stir well. After another 10 minutes, add the mushrooms and stir again. Leave to simmer for another 15 minutes.
3. Test the peppers and mushrooms to see if they are soft (leave for a little longer if not). Leave to cool before blending.
4. If freezing some of the sauce, divide into boxes and ensure that the sauce is cold before freezing. I’d suggest that 2 ladles is about right for a portion of pizza topping, and maybe 3 – 4 ladles for pasta sauce. Enjoy!