I have always advocated freshly cooked food. If you open my freezer or pantry cupboard, you will not find even one tray of ready to eat meals. I don’t hoard jars and cans of tomatoes (I mean, really–how long does it take to chop a tomato?) and corn or sauces of a zillion kinds. If you ask me, all it takes to cook yourself and your family a wholesome, freshly cooked, nutritious meal everyday is just a little commonsense. And that commonsense does not always imply hiring a cook or ordering out.
Especially since I became a mother, I am more particular about having fresh produce in my fridge. I don’t labor for hours in the kitchen cooking elaborate meals everyday, but I make sure what I put on the table is preservative-free and safe. As a giveaway for my first cooking class , I made this tomato sauce and got a lot of people writing in and asking me for the recipe, so I thought it might be a good idea to share it here. I use it for pastas and pizza, but also just as often for dips (in combination with cream cheese–yum!) or as a flavor base to build a risotto or even an Indian curry on. I make a huge batch of it because it lasts for at least two weeks in the fridge.
For lunch today, I simply tossed some spaghetti in the tomato sauce and ate it alongside some mushroom-topped toasted baguette .
*What’s your favorite go-to ingredient?*
Basic Tomato Sauce for Pasta, Pizza, and Dips
- 1 kg. ripe tomatoes
- 2 fat cloves of garlic, minced
- 3 tbsp. tomato ketchup (optional)
- salt to taste
- 1 tbsp. sugar
- 1 tsp. chili flakes
- 2 tbsp. good quality olive oil.
- Make crosses on the tomatoes and place in a microwave-safe bowl with some water and microwave until soft. Alternatively, blanch the tomatoes in a pot of boiling water.
- Peel, blend, and pass through a sieve if you have the patience. I simply put them through a blender skin, seeds, and all.
- Heat olive oil in a thick-bottomed saucepan and add the garlic.Saute for a scant minute and tip in the tomato puree.
- Stir to combine and add the rest of the ingredients.Simmer until reduced.
- Store in an air-tight jar up to two weeks.
To use in pastas or pizzas, heat through with a couple of torn basil leaves. To make a lip-smacking dip to go with celery sticks, crackers, or chips, combine with cream cheese.