During the festive season, I did quite a lot of cooking which gave me the opportunity to experiment. I confess, I've always had some problems with the basic tomato sauce for pasta as I find it lacks the extra oomph! like the ones you get in the restaurant. My sauce always has a sour taste to it which I kinda hate.
In response to my queries, a friend of mine introduced me to Marcella Hazan's cookbooks and the wonders of her famous tomato sauce. It's something not new as her cookbooks have been around for years but after giving it a try, I feel as though I have found epiphany in my pasta sauce making. The best test of course was my friends' responses and the simple tomato sauce was a hit at a recent dinner party at my friend's house. Everyone asked for the recipe hence I have decided to write it up here rather than emailing all of them plus sharing it with all of you.
Although the pricing of this sauce is quite expensive versus buying an instant pasta sauce, it's kinda worth it as you know what goes in to the sauce and it does not have any preservatives. For my version, I used canned Italian plum tomatoes (Cirio is my favourite) plus my usual Lurpak unsalted butter. Even though Marcella Hazan does say you have to throw away the onion once you use it, I've found that it's nice to eat it together with the sauce. For my pasta in the picture, I have added a mix of seafood like clams, calamari and prawns which I sauteed seperately before adding the sauce.
On a cooking note, if you love cook shows, do check out Astro's new channel, BBC Entertainment on channel 26. There's a variety of shows such as Friends for Dinner, James Martin's Sweets, Delia Smith's How to Cook, Ching's Kitchen, Rick Stein's Fruits of the Sea and Giorgio Locatelli Pure Italian which they're showing. It's at odd times but if you love British chefs, it's a good opportunity to catch them in action before Astro start charging for the channel from May 2007. To check the schedules, see Astro's website for details.
Marcella Hazan's Tomato Sauce with Onion and Butter
(Extracted from Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking)
2 cups canned Italian plum tomatoes, cut up with their juice
5 tablespoons butter
1 medium onion, peeled and cut in half
Put canned tomatoes in saucepan, add butter, onion and salt and cook uncovered at a slow and steady simmer for 45 minutes or until fat floats from tomato. Stir from time to time, mashing any large piece of tomato in pan with a wooden spoon. Taste and correct for salt. Discard onion and serve sauce with pasta. This recipe makes six servings.
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