Tag Archives: Tomato sauce

Kitchen Basics: Versatile Tomato Sauce

One of the staple dishes in our kitchen is a really simple tomato sauce. I make a batch almost fortnightly and it’s used in a few different ways, from spaghetti and meatballs, in lasagne, with baked vegetable dishes and topping pizzas, it’s so simple to do and the basis of so many meals it is one of the first things I’ll be teaching the boy to cook. Using some of good quality tinned tomatoes, I knocked up a batch of sauce for a quick and simple meal this week.

Versatile Tomato Sauce

Ingredients:
1 large onion (or two small ones) finely chopped
1 clove of garlic, crushed
1 bottle of passata
1 pod of tomato purée
1 teaspoon of oregano or mixed herbs
1 teaspoon of pesto, tomato pesto if you have it (optional)
Olive oil
Sugar
Salt & pepper

Method:
1. In a frying pan heat up a splosh of olive oil (about a tablespoon) and gently soften your finely chopped onion. Stir frequently until soft and then add your crushed garlic and warm through for a few minutes, don’t let it burn or it’ll go bitter.
2. Once your onion is soft, add the passata and warm through. While it’s bubbling away gently, add the tomato purée, herbs, pesto (optional) and salt and pepper. To balance out any bitterness from the tomato add a good pinch of sugar to taste.
3. Leave to simmer gently for ten minutes or so, stirring frequently.

To serve as I have done, toss through some cooked spaghetti and serve with meatballs and a sprinkle of cheese. Alternatively layer into your lasagne, or cook for longer until it thickens a bit more and use as a pizza topping.

tomato sauce

This tomato sauce is incredibly versatile and I know that even if I serve it just with some plain pasta it will be a meal the small boy will devour in one sitting. As it’s made from tomatoes it is one of his five a day and is probably healthier than what I could buy in a jar.

tomato sauce

I like to use good quality passata and purée where I can, you can tell by the colour, texture and flavour of the raw ingredient that anything you make with them will be tasty.

Frugal Finds: Ravishing Roasted Tomatoes

Like most people these days we live on a budget. We try to eat like kings on a
paupers pay packet, so when I spotted some really good looking vine tomatoes on the Aldi Super Six offer I couldn’t resist. All at the pocket-friendly price of 69p, I greedily bought 6 packets. 

My plan was to roast them to go with a meal of quiche and salad. Now that is a lot of roasted tomatoes for one meal for three people, but being the frugalista I am, I had grand plans for the leftovers.

This is a great way to take care of a glut of tomatoes if you grow your own, or to take advantage if you stumble across a bargain in the green grocers or Aldi.

Frugal Finds: Ravishing Roasted Tomatoes

Roasted Tomatoes
Halve and remove the core from your tomatoes, lay them cut side up in a roasting tin, season with salt and pepper, I sprinkled over fresh thyme and oregano, but dried herbs would be fine. Nestle in some cloves of garlic, still in their skins, drizzle over some olive oil and roast in a hot oven for about 40 minutes or until they’ve semi-collapsed and oozing with their juices.

At this point they’re done. I love them on hot buttered toast fresh from the oven but I had other plans for my hot tray of loveliness.

As I’d roasted so many – two trays worth, I tipped the tomatoes and their juices, skin and all in the food processor, I squeezed the garlic from it’s skin and blitzed the lot. After checking the seasoning I decanted the roasted tomato sauce into storage containers. I’ve now got a litre of gorgeous roasted tomato sauce sat in the fridge waiting for another day.

So for my minimal effort I’ve got the following meals from my roasted tomatoes:

  • Sneaky, cheeky lunch of roast tomatoes on toast
  • Side dish to go with our evening meal of quiche and salad
  • Spaghetti and meatballs in roasted tomato sauce
  • Homemade pizza using the sauce as a tomato base
  • Tomato and mozzarella risotto
  • Plus a batch of sauce for the freezer for a rainy day

That’s not bad for £4.14 worth of tomatoes, a few herbs, some garlic and not a lot of effort. It really is worth trying, in our house tomatoes form the basis of a lot of meals and the deep, more intense flavour of the roasted tomatoes is something else.

What would you use the sauce for?