Salsa di pomodoro (home made tomato pasta sauce)

My mother in law makes her own tomato sauce from the tomatoes that are grown on the family farm and each year she harvests tomatoes to make sauces, passatas and sun dried tomatoes. The family will eat these sauces throughout the year until the next summer. 

This is my version of my mother in law’s sauce, instead of fresh tomatoes I use good quality canned plum tomatoes and mine also contains some hidden veg so great for children’s pasta.

Makes 600ml, which is about 3 portions for 2 people

  • 800g canned good quality plum tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon tomato purée
  • 1 teaspoon/lump of sugar (optional)
  • 2 small onions, chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 carrot, grated or chopped into small pieces
  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed
  • 5 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • 250ml veg/chicken stock made with one stock cube/pot
  • 6 – 8 fresh basil leaves (optional)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

    1. Chop or grate the onion, celery and carrot (I had previously done this and then froze the sofrito (as it is known) mix in ice cubes for me to use on occasions like this)
    2. Add them and the crushed garlic with a tablespoon of olive oil and 100ml of stock to a deep pan or pot
    3. Cook gently for about 10 -15 min, adding extra stock if the pan dries up
    4. Add the rest of the ingredients to the pan except the basil leaves and remaining olive oil
    5. Squish the tomatoes with a wooden spoon so that they break up a bit
    6. Cook gently for about 45 minutes 
    7. Add the basil and olive oil (I used a teaspoon of dried basil on this occasion)
    8. Purée the sauce with a hand held food processor or blender (if your tomatoes have broken down enough you don’t have to blend the sauce, it’s also good when it’s slightly course)

    You can bottle these in sterilised jam jars to use in the future. I tend to keep mine in the fridge and use within a few weeks. I also put some sauce into ice cube trays; once frozen I keep them in a freezer bag to use for my daughter if I need a quick meal for her.

    This sauce can be simply enjoyed on it’s own with any type of pasta, or you can use it as a base and add meatballs or prawns or add more veg like cooked peas and serve with parmesan cheese (obviously!).

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