Default pasta sauce

This is my current default tomato-based pasta sauce. Feeds family of 5.

  • 2 x cartons of passata (Sainsbury’s Basics will do – or chopped tinned tomatoes)
  • handful of fresh basil, chopped
  • 4 or 5 anchovies from a jar
  • 3 fat cloves of garlic, chopped
  • sprinkle of dried chilli flakes
  • 500g bag of really good quality pasta
  • half a vegetable stock cube
  • heaped teaspoon of brown sugar
  • dash of Worcestershire sauce
  • dash of balsamic vinegar or red wine
  • salt, pepper, olive oil

Fry the chillis, basil and anchovies in some olive oil for a couple of minutes until the anchovies melt.  Add the garlic and cook briefly but do not allow the garlic to go brown. Add the passata and all the other ingredients except the stock cube and pasta. Bring to the boil and simmer for at least 30 minutes.

Fill a large pan with a lot of boiling water and add the stock cube and some salt. Cook the pasta according to the instructions. Use cheap ingredients for everything else, but the pasta must be the best you can possibly afford.

While the pasta is cooking, whizz up the sauce with a hand blender. This really does make a difference – you get a creamier sauce and the garlic and basil flavours permeate better.

When the pasta is cooked, make a half-assed attempt at draining it – you want the pasta to be wet. Add the poorly-drained pasta to the sauce. Serve with grated parmesan cheese and crusty bread. This really is quite delicious and a doddle to make.

(Not quite vegetarian, I know – but I guess you could omit the anchovies and Worcestershire sauce and try it with Henderson’s Relish instead?)

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