Italian Mama’s Prima Pasta….

This recipe is for the perfect pasta sauce – the best thing about this is that if you are busy like me it can be made in advance and frozen.  It’s brilliant for a dinner party or to make in bulk to entertain a big group.  Good food doesn’t always have to be complicated and time consuming- this is dead easy, uses store cupboard ingredients and is ready in less than an hour.  I think one of the main things about food and cooking is learning a few staple recipes to add to your repertoire that you can rely on.  Using good, fresh ingredients to cook with and eating well can be so therapeutic and satisfying.  Your body is the only one you get so be wise about what you put into it and don’t rely on ready meals or other people – do it for yourself and your health!

Sauce ingredients

1 large carrot
1 stick of celery
1 red onion
2 cloves of garlic
250g of beef mince 250g pork mince
Healthy option 500g of turkey mince.
1 teaspoon of sugar
pinch of salt
black pepper
sprinkle of chilli (optional)
1 large glass of red/white wine
1 glass of water
1 tube of tomato puree
1 oxo cube
2 handfuls of parmigiano reggiano
500g of dried pasta or fresh if you have it.
Chop the vegetables and garlic into a small dice.  Fry veg in olive oil till soft then add your seasonings. This is the base of your sauce, a (sofrito) as the Italians call it.

Add the tomato puree stir for 5 mins then add the meat and brown it slightly.  This sauce doesn’t use fresh or tinned tomatoes as the puree really intensifies the flavour.

Add the wine and cook off the alcohol for a few minutes, then add the water and bring to the boil. Crumble in Oxo cube (or stockpot) and let it simmer on a low heat for 40 minutes, stirring often to insure it doesn’t stick.  Add 1 handful of parmesan when sauce is ready and mix well. Taste for seasoning and drizzle with 1 tablespoon of olive oil.  Dry pasta will take about 15 minutes it needs to have bite (al dente), fresh will only take 3-5 minutes.  Add a spoonful of pasta to the sauce at a time until it is all coated- this is the best way to dress pasta and ensures that your sauce does not simply sit on the top layer. Garnish with some more parmesan to finish and enjoy….

This sauce is multifunctional it can be used to make lasagne or as a bruschetta topping and it can also be reheated- infact it tastes even better the next day for lunch if you have leftovers. This dish works well with penne pasta or spaghetti, spelt or wholewheat options are also great especially for intolerences or diet preferences.

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