There are few foods I find sexier than pasta. Possibly because images of a youthful Sophia Loren, clutching a bowl of spaghetti to her quite delightful bosom, come to mind whenever I think of pasta. Unlike us, Italians don’t drown their pasta in sauce. One of my 5-minute favourites is just garlic, red chilli and tons of flat leaf parsley, frightened in a hot pan with extra virgin olive oil for a minute or two. The flavour is a knockout. And that’s the point with good pasta sauce – something simple that packs a mean punch flavour-wise. Tomato sauce is another such favourite. Done correctly, it’s good enough to make me break out in song, mostly bad Puccini. This one is my new must-have. Tomatoes, made super sweet with slow roasting, a kiss of mascarpone and you have a red velvety dream. Seriously sexy stuff. Enjoy!

All you need is…

400g small, ripe rosa tomatoes
1 tbs fresh oregano, finely chopped
1 tbs garlic, finely chopped
¼ tsp smoked chilli flakes (Woolies stocks it)
¼ tsp salt
4 tbs olive oil
1 red onion, finely chopped
1 tsp tomato paste
3 tbs mascarpone (or thick fresh cream)
½ tsp red wine vinegar
black pepper
purple basil
parmesan cheese

Cut the tomatoes in half lengthwise and mix with the oregano, garlic, ¼ tsp salt and 3 tbs olive oil. Pour onto a flat baking tray and roast in a 140°C oven for 40 minutes.

In the meantime, fry the onions in 1 tbs olive oil until soft. As soon as they’re soft, add the tomato paste and fry for a further minute or two (it gets rid of tomato paste’s harsh metallic quality).

Pour the roasted tomatoes into a food processor, add the onions and blitz until pureed. Place the puree in a fine sieve and use the back of a spoon to push it through. A wonderful velvety sauce is what emerges and the pips and skins stay behind. Put the tomato sauce back on the heat and stir through the mascarpone. If the sauce is a bit too thick for your liking, add a few drops of the water you boiled your pasta in. Just before serving, add the red wine vinegar, a grinding of black pepper and salt, if needed. Serve with a pasta of your choice, purple basil (I love the purple against the red) and fresh parmesan.

serves

2

prep

10 min

cook

50 min

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good to know

I have serious issues with…

…those ghastly small packets of dry, powdered parmesan. I’m using parmesan in a very broad sense here, as I suspect it’s actually parmesan rind mixed with sawdust and possibly some belly fluff. It smells and tastes like old shoes. Not that I go around chomping on shoes, but you get the idea.

Buy a block of parmesan and grate as you need it. It may seem pricey, but a block goes a very long way. As the queen of cheap, you need to trust me on this. If you can’t find parmesan, pecorino will do.

enjoy with

Try something a bit different for a change. Sangiovese (the Italian red cultivar used in Chianti) is the perfect partner for any tomato-based pasta or pizza. Woolies stocks Farnese Sangiovese Terre Di Chieti.

With lovely strawberry and black cherry notes, it retails just shy of R50. If you want to push the boat out, try Anthonij Rupert’s Terra Del Capo Sangiovese. A R75 buy, but very good value considering the quality.

Farnese Sangiovese

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