The decision about what to rustle up for a quick and easy mid-week supper is often determined by what’s lurking in the fridge. Today there were 4 medium-large tomatoes and half a pot of single cream. I often make a sauce with fresh tomatoes to go with pasta in the week for a simple supper, chopping them and frying gently in olive oil, but tonight I decided to roast the tomatoes for a fuller flavour and then add some of the cream at the end.
I cut the stem end out of the tomatoes but didn’t bother to skin them. I was planning to blend the sauce and the skins would only add flavour. I chopped them into quarters and put them in an ovenproof dish. I added ½ medium red onion, fairly finely chopped. I seasoned with salt and pepper and then put into a moderate oven – 200C/180 Fan/Gas 6. I often roast vegetables at a slightly higher temperature when I want some caramelisation. But in this case, I didn’t want the edges to burn and spoil the sauce, so took things a little more gently. It took about 35 minutes for them to soften nicely and then I removed from the oven and transferred, scraping all the lovely juices, to a small pan so I could blend it all more easily. I used a hand blender and then, once fairly smooth, I added a couple of large basil leaves, torn, and a glug of the single cream.
I purposely hadn’t added the basil leaves until the end as I wanted to retain the freshness of their uncooked taste. I blended it all until fairly smooth – it was still slightly lumpy, but that was fine for me.
Towards the end of the cooking time, I’d put some orecchiette on to cook – they take about 15 minutes. But you could make the sauce ahead of eating and reheat at the last minute. As it was, I did very gently reheat the sauce before adding it to my cooked pasta and checked the seasoning. I also divided the sauce in half as there was enough for two portions, so one will go into the freezer for another day.
I mixed it all in carefully over a low flame – just for a minute or two, until nicely mixed together and warm through. It Italy a pasta sauce will be mixed in like this, not dumped on top as so often happens in UK. I transferred to a serving dish and grated over a little Parmesan and drizzled over just a little extra virgin olive oil. I served it with a green salad.
It was so very easy and quick. You could do it all in not much more than half an hour, including the roasting time. I liked the cream in the tomato sauce: it made it just a little more luxurious. I rarely use tinned tomatoes now for pasta sauce. They’re fine and for some things better, but I do like the milder, fresher taste of fresh tomatoes for a simple pasta sauce.