Monday, October 20, 2008

my favourite tomato sauce for pasta

this is a really basic tomato sauce, but it's very good because of its simplicity. i learnt how to make this watching mary, julia's mum, make this whenever i was lucky enough to be invited over their house. i remember cooking this for julia when we were in paris; i was thrilled when she said it was just like her mother's!
i think the main difference between this tomato sauce and the other italian tomato sauces i've tried is that there is no onion in this sauce. i'm not sure whether it is because julia's mother is from northern italy with a yugoslavic background that there isn't any onion, but whatever the reason, this sauce is simply perfect - to me. there is also the addition of chilli. this is added for warmth, not burning spiciness, unless burning spiciness is what you are looking for.

1/4 to 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 chilli, fresh or dried, seeded if only warmth is desired
1 can italian peeled tomatoes, crushed

gently heat the olive oil in a heavy saucepan. add the garlic and chilli. allow the garlic and chilli to bathe in the warm oil and impart their essence. on no account allow the garlic to burn.

add the canned tomatoes carefully so as not to let the slash into the hot oil. allow to simmer until thickened. taste with a clean spoon and salt to taste. remember that this is a sauce and the saltiness will be diluted when the pasta is added, so ensure the sauce is salted adequately.

just before serving, tear basil leaves into the sauce and pour over the pasta.

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