mirrorshard: (Default)
[personal profile] mirrorshard

Take two cans of tomatoes. Chop, if not chopped already. Pour them into a medium-sized saucepan, and heat for about 15 minutes. Stir it a few times and don't let it burn while it thickens. Stir in a teaspoon of sugar and another of salt - this cuts the acidity that canned tomatoes have, and makes it smoother and richer. If you want to make it thicker still, stir in some starch or flour, but be careful about it.

Chop one large red pepper, or for preference half each of a red and a green pepper, and drop them in. (For those not experienced in handling peppers: take it firmly in both hands, put your thumb on the base of the stalk, and pop it in. Tear it open and empty out the now-loose middle part with all the seeds, run it under the cold tap to get rid of the rest. For this, you're looking at pieces about 1 cm square.) Turn the heat down as far as it'll go.

Now here's the fun bit, consisting basically of "whatever you have lying around the kitchen that looks plausible". Courgettes, onion, mushrooms, cabbage, fennel, and cauliflower all work well, but if you're going to put more than two of those in - or more than a little of each - you're going to need a bigger saucepan than you originally estimated. Dried apricots work very well; apple works well, but remember to peel it first, it feels horrible otherwise. If you feel the need for protein, pour in a handful of chopped nuts, pine kernels, or flaked almonds (warning: this raises the fat content a fair bit).

I like to put in a fair-sized chunk of fresh ginger, chopped small (peel it and use a serrated knife) or grated if you can be bothered (I usually can't). Other seasonings: it's almost a sin to make tomato sauce without basil and thyme and marjoram, or to use ginger without tarragon. But this doesn't need all that much, and you can quite easily leave them all out. It's also good to put in a generous pile of garlic - I'd happily use four cloves for this much sauce. After you've put the seasonings in, turn the heat off till the pasta's done, it'll keep nicely and won't lose the flavours.

Served with pasta, this makes a good solid meal for two people. I recommend crusty bread with it, and/or a leafy salad, if you want to get fancy.
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