I have found that pasta dishes almost always deliver on taste and wholesomeness. They take relatively lesser time to make, yet you can load them with nutrition by adding any number of fresh vegetables or nuts or herbs. Or you can keep them mellow and simple with just a couple of ingredients – olive oil and garlic (in Italy this is called Aglio e Olio – pasta with garlic and oil)! And it will still be just delicious and filling. In this recipe, I have made the tomato pasta sauce as thick and rich as the readymade one with flavours like Arrabiata or Tomato and Basil. Do try it out. You can use this as a base sauce and turn it into Arrabiata or Basil flavour to suit your taste.
•4 large tomatoes for sauce – deseeded
•1 or 2 tomatoes peeled and chopped – also deseeded (to be added to sauce later)
•3-4 Garlic cloves chopped
•Basil leaves or Chilli flakes (or both)
•Farfalle Pasta 2 cups
Chop tomatoes in half and remove all the seeds. Cut into chunks and cook in a deep pan. Deseeding the tomatoes and cooking them first gets you a smooth and creamy sauce. Do use non stick cookware. Cover and let this simmer for a while. The sauce turns out best when it is allowed to cook on a low flame with occasional stirring. Remove from the flame when the tomatoes are completely softened and upon stirring you observe a gravy like consistency. Another way to know your tomatoes are ready is your kitchen is filled with the fragrance of freshly made tomato soup! As the tomatoes were not peeled earlier and there may still be chunky bits of tomato we need to put them in a blender and blitz them until you can see a paste like consistency. This should not require any water as the gravy like consistency of the tomatoes will ensure that it runs smoothly in the blender. When the tomatoes are blended well, strain the paste into a bowl through a sieve to remove any bits of seeds, skin or chunks.
Now heat some oil in a large pan and add the garlic. Add the garlic immediately and let this also cook gradually as the oil heats up. This way you extract the flavour of the garlic into the oil and it becomes garlic oil. Now add the tomato chunks and cook for a few minutes. At this stage you can make your pasta completely as you like it. You can add pepper flakes, onions, olives, spinach leaves, basil or any other herb or vegetable of your choice. I chose to add the tomato paste to the chunks of tomato to get a rich tomato sauce with bits of tomato to chew on! I then added a few basil leaves and then seasoned with some pink rock salt and just a little bit of pepper. And voila! The sauce was ready! I cooked theFarfalle Pasta alongside and when it was done I strained it and plated some for myself. I added the freshly made tomato sauce on top of this pasta, sprinkled a bit of dry parsley on top and decorated with some capers.
You can see on the side my attempt at making a salad tower! This was with a base of avocado and topped with a quinoa salad with tomatoes and cucumbers. I think the tower began leaning to one side by the time I got to taking a pic!
Do try making this recipe when you have some time on your hands and you can enjoy the flavours of the tomatoes reducing, the garlic sizzling in oil and the dish coming together for you to enjoy and relish at leisure.
Ms Aditi Pathak is based in Singapore. Widely travelled and from a Services background, cooking is one of her many passions.