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How to make Tomato Sauce

You can use this sauce on a pizza, to go with pasta, to use in a spaghetti bolognese or lasagne, to top bruschetta or to use in any dish that requires a decent tomato sauce. It's wonderful with chicken (see our recipe for Chicken Parmigiana). Double or quadruple the recipe, freeze it in portions and you are ready to go. We also show you how to make fresh tomato sauce.

1 onion, medium
1 carrot, small
1 stalk of celery
2 cloves garlic, peeled, halved and green stem removed
4 tablespoons olive oil
250g peeled fresh tomatoes (or 1 tin of tomatoes 400g, drained)
6 basil leaves, torn
2 leaves of sage, chopped
Leaves of 1/4 sprig of rosemary, chopped

1. Chop the onion, carrot and celery into small chunks. Place in a saucepan and season with salt and pepper. Fry in olive oil with the garlic over a low heat until softened and lightly browned (about 20 minutes).
2. Add the tomatoes, basil, sage and rosemary and stir. Bring the sauce to the boil, then turn it down and cook it over a low heat for 45-60 minutes (the oil will rise to the surface). Stir with a wooden spoon every so often to make sure it doesn't stick. When the sauce is ready, break it down with the wooden spoon until it is homogenous or you can push it through a mouli or conical sieve.

Tomato Sauce Recipe Tip

– This sauce keeps for up to 5 days in the fridge, covered with cling film.

– If you use unripe or hard tomatoes or a bad quality tin of tomatoes, you will get out what you put in. Buy a good quality tin of tomatoes – the juice should be thick not watery and all the tomatoes should be the same size. Italian tinned tomatoes are usually good. It's worth spending a little extra given that tomatoes are the star of the show.

– It is a perfect sauce to serve with chicken breasts as the flavourings are in the sauce already. Fry the chicken breasts in oil until golden, pop them into an oven-dish cover with sauce and bake for 20-25 minutes at 180ΊC/360ΊF/Gas Mark 5. Grate parmesan cheese on top and grill until bubbling and golden.

Fresh Tomato Sauce

200g fresh ripe tomatoes
1 garlic clove, peeled, halved and green stem removed
10 basil leaves
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt and black pepper

1. Peel the tomatoes with a tomato peeler or sharp serrated knife. If you don't have either of those, cut a cross in the top of each tomato, put them in boiling water, and when the skin starts to peel, take them out, plunge them into cold water and peel.
2. Chop the garlic and basil finely place in a bowl with the tomatoes. Pour over enough olive oil to coat and season with salt and black pepper.

– Again, the tomatoes are the star of this sauce so they need to be ripe and fruity. The olive oil needs to be excellent as there are so few ingredients in the sauce. Different olive oils will add different qualities so it is a good way to vary the taste of the sauce each time.
– This fresh tomato sauce keeps for up to 3 days in the fridge.
– Toss the sauce with cooked pasta for a quick mid-week dish or use it to dress a plain fried or grilled fish such as turbot, cod, monkfish or plaice.

Penne with Sausage and Chilli
Chicken Parmesan
Aubergines with Goat's Cheese
Penne All'Arrabbiata
Fettuccine with Tomato and Basil
Penne with Aubergine and Ricotta

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