This recipe is taken from:
“Amaretto, Apple Cake and Artichokes: The Best of Anna Del Conte” (Anna Del Conte)
I’m always searching for a quick and easy tomato sauce, as it forms the basis of so many recipes. I have this ideal of a freezer chock full of home-made stock and sauces, ready for whatever culinary whim comes my way. However, since my freezer at the moment is just big enough to accommodate a couple of ice-cube trays and the odd wine cooling emergency, that’ll have to wait. But this sauce, one of the many tomato sauces in Anna Del Conte’s fantastic book, will be first on my freezing list.
The one thing that I’ve learned about sauces living in Italy is the art of the barely-moving simmer. If you want your sauce to have depth of flavour, you need to be prepared to cook it for at least an hour on the lowest possible gas so it just burbles. This sauce is simplicity itself to prepare, but the only thing it needs is time. My rule of thumb for sauce quantities is one 400g tin of tomatoes for every two people. Quantities below are for two, multiply for the freezer accordingly.
I first cooked this to serve with zucchini and feta cakes.
1 400g tin tomatoes
1/2 onion, chopped
1 stick celery, chopped
1tsp tomato puree
1/2 tsp sugar
3 tbsps the best olive oil
2 tbsps red wine
In a pan with a well-fitting lid, put the tomatoes, onion, celery, tomato puree, olive oil and sugar, and season with a good grinding of salt and pepper. Put the lid on and cook over a medium heat for 15 minutes.
Blend with a hand blender or in a food processor. Return to the pan, add 2 tbsps red wine, and cook, covered, over a very low heat for at least 40 minutes.
At the end of cooking, you can mix in some raw olive oil (if it is very good quality) or a little butter just to richen the sauce.