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Posts Tagged ‘pasta sauce’

River Café tomato sauce

 

We have two tomato sauces in our repertoire that we rely on; both are delicious but have a slightly different character. This is the one we have adopted from the River Café in London which is quicker (though we wouldn’t describe it as quick exactly) and incorporates a rich onion base. We keep a stack of takeaway tubs full of tomato sauce in the freezer for whenever pizza, pasta, or any other tomato-flavoured dish calls. Top quality tinned tomatoes are essential and we find the Italian brands are best.

Sugo di Pomodoro a Fuoco Lento or Slow-Cooked Tomato Sauce

  • 2 x 800g tins plum tomatoes, drained of their juices
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 medium red onions, peeled and sliced very thinly
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and cut into slivers

Heat the oil in a large saucepan, then add the onions. Reduce the heat and cook until very soft, at least 40 minutes. Add the garlic about 5 minutes before the end.

Add the tomatoes and stir to break up. Season with salt and pepper and cook slowly for at least 90 minutes, giving it a stir every now and again. The oil will eventually come to the surface and the sauce will be dark red and very thick with no remaining juice.

(Original recipe from The River Cafe Cookbook by Rose Gray and Ruth Rogers, Ebury Press, 1995.)

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From the geniuses at River Café is this deeply delicious and flavoursome pasta which keeps on reprising itself on our menus. We love that the ingredients list is simple and short and yet the dish is packed full of flavour and style. Don’t shy away from the generous quantity of butter – it’s what gives the dish its richness.

We’ve given a separate recipe for the tomato sauce. You will have too much for this recipe but it’s good served as it is with some tagliatelle and freezes well.

Wine suggestion: earthy, medium bodied red wines work well with this and we returned to an old favourite, the very smooth Selvapiana Chianti Rufina which is pure elegance in a glass. Really fine and supple tannins make this sing with a freshness that adds depth to the food.

Penne, tomato and dried porcini – serves 4 

  • 320g penne
  • 40g dried porcini
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely sliced
  • 1 tbsp flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped
  • 50g Parmesan, grated
  • 5 tbsp tomato sauce (see below)
  • 100g unsalted butter
  • extra virgin olive oil

Soak the porcini in 200ml boiling water for 10 minutes.

Drain the porcini, straining the liquid through muslin or a paper towel, reserving the water. Rinse the porcini and chop coarsely.

In a thick-bottomed saucepan, melt the butter and add the garlic. Add the porcini and fry until soft. Add a little of the porcini liquid and simmer until absorbed. Stir in the parsley. Add the tomato sauce and season.

Cook the penne in plenty of boiling salted water until al dente. Drain and stir into the pasta sauce.

Drizzle with olive oil and serve with the Parmesan

Tomato sauce – serves 4

  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 x 400g tinned tomatoes

Heat the oil in a thick-bottomed pan and fry the garlic until soft but not coloured. Add the tomatoes and season. Cook over a medium heat for 20-30 minutes or, until the sauce is very thick and the oil comes to the top.

(Original recipes from Italian Two Easy: Simple Recipes from the London River Cafe by Rose Gray and Ruth Rogers, Random House, 2006.)

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Sicilian fusilli with tomato, garlic & almond

We love the combination of anchovies and almonds in this pasta sauce – a Sicilian-style pesto. It also reinforces our desire to go to Sicily.

Wine Suggestion: A fresh and dry Italian white is a must for this dish with numerous choices working well. If you can find one match it with a white from the slopes of Mt Etna which will be minerally and savoury, or if not a dry Vermentino from the Tuscan coast. We drink a glass of the Morisfarms Vermentino which was both minerally and nutty with fresh citrus flavours. Morisfarms add 10% Viognier to this wine which gives it an added exotic lift and roundness to the wine. With the complex savoury notes of the dish the savoury and nutty wine worked a treat.

Sicilian pasta with tomatoes, garlic & almonds – serves 6

  • 500g fusilli lunghi (long spiral pasta) or other pasta – we used regular fusilli
  • 250g cherry tomatoes
  • 6 anchovy fillets
  • 25g golden sultanas
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 2 x 15ml tbsp capers, drained
  • 50g blanched almonds
  • 60ml extra-virgin olive oil
  • leaves from a small bunch of basil (about 20g) to serve

Cook the pasta in plenty of boiling salted water according to the pack instructions.

Make the sauce as the pasta cooks by putting all the ingredients, except the basil, into a processor and blitzing until you have a textured sauce.

Drain the pasta, reserving a mugful of the cooking water and add 2 tbsp of the water to the processor as you pulse the sauce.

Tip the drained pasta into a warmed serving bowl. Pour over the sauce and toss to coat – add a bit more pasta cooking water if needed and scatter with basil leaves.

(Original recipe from Nigellissima by Nigella Lawson, Chattos & Windus, 2012.)

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