Versatility is as useful in our kitchens as it is in our lives. The flexibility to bend this way and that with the vagaries of the days is the surest way to ride out the inevitable humps and challenges that come our way.
This evening everyone is busy with classes and commitments so dinner needs to be something fast. It isn’t necessary to sacrifice taste for time so it’s an opportunity to make a batch of a tomato sauce so adaptable that it almost feels as if it should be much hard to make than it is.
Chopping an onion finely I discover that it’s one of those with such a pungency that before I have got the little chunks into the pot my eyes are streaming. Someone comes to the door and I must look as if I have just heard some devastating news. I wipes my eyes and crush a fat clove of garlic adding it to the onion. Pouring a little more olive oil in with the onions and garlic that seems decent I gently soften them until they take on a translucence, the hint of light brown across the odd edge and a softness that will soothe. Into the pot go two tins of good quality chopped tomatoes, a couple of tablespoons of red wine vinegar and half a glass of red wine. The lid goes on ajar leaving a little gap for the steam to escape and allow the sauce to reduce, sweeten wonderfully and thicken.
I cook a pack of Linguine in a large pan of boiling water as salty as the sea. Drained and doused with olive oil I pile it onto the plates and spoon the unctuous sauce over the top. Adorned with a generous spoonful of freshly grated Parmesan and a grind from the pepper mill a delicious meal is produced in no time. I could have torn a few basil leaves over the top but I didn’t have any.
This really is the sauce that keeps on giving because it’s perfect as a cradle for meatballs, a sumptuous pizza topping, the wow factor in a homemade soup and even, reduced a little further, as the perfect condiment to a juicy fresh burger.
Who invented tinned tomatoes? I love you.
Chopped Tomatoes – 2 tins of good quality
Garlic – 1 fat clove
Oilve Oil – 3 or 4 tablespoons depending on your liking
Red Wine Vinegar – 2 tablespoons
Red Wine – half a glass