Sunday, May 11, 2008

Classic Pomodoro

My husband and I always have problem on week-ends as to whether we should eat in or out. He'll say "no worries dear, anything is fine with me - eat out is easier, then you won't have to cook". But even with eating out, we can't decide where .... can be frustrating at times!

The beauty of pasta is that from such a simple dish, an infinite variety of meals can be made. It adapts as easily to quick sauces as it does to long-simmering, thick ragus. This week-end I decided on a simple tomato base recipe. I used penne for this recipe.

We had recently gone for a health screening test and my husband's results came back showing that his cholestral level was above the maximum range. This is not good. The doctor said he's got to watch his diet and do more exercise.

I tweeked the original recipe a bit by added 150gm diced bacon, an additional onion, slightly more garlic (both of us love garlic), a cupful of sliced button mushrooms and a cupful of green peppers. The original recipe is as below.


60 mil (1/4 cup) olive oil

1 onion, finely chopped

3 garlic cloves, finely chopped

3 x 400g (14 oz) cans chopped tomatoes

1 tablespoon tomato paste (puree) - add more if desired

bouquet garni (or you could use mixed Italian dried herbs)

3 tableshpoon torn basil leaves

freshly grated Parmesan cheese, to serve (optional)


1) Heat oil in a deep frying pan and cook the onion over medium heat for 4-5 minutes, or until softened. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds before adding the tomato, tomato paste, bouquet garni and some salt and freshly ground black pepper. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until the sauce thickens, stirring occassionally. Add the basil and if the sauce is too tart, a pinch of salt. Remove the bouquet garni.

2) Toss through the pasta and serve with grated Parmesan, if desired.


To make a tomato and cream sauce, stir in 125 ml (1/2 cup) cream after removing the bouquet garni and simmer for a further 5 minutes.

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