I’m having a rare stay-at-home-mom-day today and taking the opportunity to do some cooking with the kids. One of the things we made today was my easy-peasy pasta sauce. There are few things I like more than fresh pasta with fresh napoletana sauce. It is always a big hit with the children and there are never any arguments about eating dinner when this is on the menu. While I quite often do a big batch in my slow cooker, taking the time to peel and de-seed the tomatoes, sometimes one simply doesn’t have the time. This is a really nice recipe to involve the kids in because it is so easy, and I have this romantic notion that it is so simple that they will remember it and be able to make it for themselves when they are grown (or to impress my future daughters-in-law!).

You need:

  • Tomatoes (of any kind: roma, jam, plum, rosa, cherry or plain old english tomatoes. Today I used a mix of store-bought long life tomatoes and cherry tomatoes from my garden)
  • Garlic
  • Olive oil
  • Basil
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Balsamic vinegar

Quarter your tomatoes, or halve them if they are small. Cut off the bit where the stalk attaches. Toss them into a roasting pan or oven dish. Add some garlic (crushed or whole cloves) and shredded basil, season with salt and pepper and glug some olive oil over the whole lot. Pop it in the oven at 200*C until roasted or starting to brown but not stick to the bottom of the pan. Allow it to cool and then pop it into a blender and whizz until you get the consistency you like – I like it a bit chunky so I pulse it. Add balsamic vinegar to taste – it adds sweetness so you don’t have to add sugar. Serve over fresh pasta with lashings of Parmesan cheese. Yum!

It freezes really well too, so make a big batch and then store some for an even quicker meal. I have not included quantities because it’s one of those things that works so well with what you have in the fridge (and I almost never measure when I cook). You can make it with 8 tomatoes or 18!