Delicious, Sweet Tomatoes
It is a wonderful thing that many of the tastiest things are often the simplest. I think that in a world where we value the rare and the complicated, we can forget or overlook just how delicious some of the simple, and abundantly available, foods are. Take tomatoes. They are in season just now – sweet and delicious and can be used in many ways. They are delightful raw in a salad, or in a sandwich or as a flavour enhancer in many stews and pasta dishes.
This good tomato sauce for pasta is quite simple. The tomatoes with a long, slow cook makes them sweet with a concentrated depth of flavour that is completely delicious
Tomatoes of course have had a very good press. They are extremely good for you and are even better when cooked rather than raw. So unlike so many other vegetables, many of those essential nutrients are not destroyed, but enhanced by cooking. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t eat them raw as they are still wonderfully healthy.
One of my favourite ways to eat raw tomatoes is in a tomato sandwich. Yes, just tomato – no cheese, ham, lettuce – or anything else. The only addition is lots of freshly ground black pepper. And the sandwiches are best when made in the morning and then not eaten until lunchtime as the juice from the tomatoes had had chance to ooze into the bread giving a flavourful and slightly soggy sandwich.
It also reminds me of my childhood as I do remember tomato sandwiches when I went our somewhere for the day with my parents. I am sure I had other types of sandwiches as well, but it is the tomato sandwiches that I most remember. so if you have never had one – do try!
Tomatoes are a good vegetable (well it is a fruit really) to try if you are just starting to grow your own vegetables. They can be grown from seed on a windowsill than just need to be re-potted and watered and fed and they tend to grow without too much trouble. Admittedly they do need a good bit of sunshine and I do know there are a lot of unripe, green tomatoes around this year due to a poor summer – but they can be cooked too as a green tomato pasta sauce. Home grown tomatoes, ripened naturally in the sunshine are just the best tasting tomatoes in the world. And there are so many varieties, sizes and even colours. This year I grew yellow cherry tomatoes.
Easy Homemade Sauce For Pasta
This recipe is an easy pasta recipe for a simple tomato sauce – a bit like the ones that you can buy in jars – only nicer and in most cases, less expensive. You can make the variations and additions to suit your own taste and to adapt to what you have in your cupboards. Add more herbs and or garlic for stronger flavours. Add a couple of chillies for a spicy mix and some olives for a Mediterranean sauce. You can make up 2 or 3 times the quantity and keep it for a few days in the fridge. In fact it tastes even nicer when it is a day or two old and then reheated. It can also be frozen.
It is quick to prepare but then has a cooking time of an hour – or more – but you can leave it on the hob to bubble and cook, just checking from time to time to ensure it does not dry out. The sauce is made with whole tomatoes, just chopped up. There is no need to skin them. The only bit i leave out is the hard bit at the top of the tomato where it was once attached to the vine.
Do buy locally grown tomatoes from a farmers market, market stall or greengrocer if you can. They will taste good and you will be supporting your local growers as well as buying fruit that has not travelled far, thus reducing your carbon foot print.
I used a red pepper in this recipe and although you can use a green or yellow pepper instead, the red pepper is the sweetest and will go best with the sweet tomatoes. It is also kind of nice to keep all the sauce a good, deep red colour too!! If you don’t have fresh basil leaves, used dried herbs – or use your favourite herb such as oregano or a mixed dried herbs.
When it comes to the pasta you can use, just choose your favourite pasta shape. whole wheat pasta is slightly higher in nurtients than white pasta and has a nutty flavour and a bit more texture.
Tomato Sauce For Pasta
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 onion peeled and chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed (more if you want a stronger garlic flavour)
- 500g /1lb ripe, red tomatoes
- 1 medium red pepper, de-seeded and chopped
- 6-8 basil leaves, torn
- pinch freshly ground black pepper
- 350-400g / 12-14oz pasta
- 125g / 4oz mozzarella or cheddar cheese, grated
- Heat the olive oil in a saucepan
- Add the onions and cook for a few minutes until soft
- Add the garlic and chopped red pepper and cook for two minutes
- Add the tomatoes
- Add the basil leaves /herbs
- Heat until it is bubbling and then turn the heat down to just simmering, cover and cook gently for 60-90 minutes until reduced and delicious!
- When almost ready – cook the pasta in plenty of boiling water for 12-15 minutes, to taste
- Drain the pasta
- Stir the sauce into the pasta
- Add freshly ground black pepper
- Serve with spoonfuls of cheese
Great served by itself or with a green salad and garlic bread.
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