Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Go-to pasta sauce

There are days when all you want is comfort food -- something homey, hot, full of flavour and requiring only one utensil (preferably a spoon) to eat. Veggie lasagna. Richard's homemade mac 'n cheese. Fish pie. (Oh, fish pie.) Beef barley soup. Kedgeree. My mom's oxtail soup. Fried rice. Hearty pasta sauce.

None of these are great summer dishes. None of them jive with our 38 degree, 95% humidity weather. But the need for comfort food doesn't follow the seasons. And so, tonight, our go-to pasta sauce it is. With a big red wine, it should conquer the thundershowers which have finally -- after a week of threatening -- arrived with a bang.

Ingredients (3-4 servings):
  • a slosh of olive oil
  • 1-2 onions
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • large tomatoes (6-8)
  • 1-2 bell peppers (any colour) and/or sweet paprikas
  • other vegetables, as available (courgettes are my current favorite)
  • ~1/2 cup orange juice and/or red wine and/or elderflower cordial
  • sausages (optional)
  • pasta
  • Chop all veggies into good size chunks and mince the garlic. 
  • Heat the olive oil in a large pan and sweat the onions and garlic until fragrant. 
  • Add all the chopped vegetables and the liquid. Let simmer vigorously for at least 20 minutes and as long as one hour.
  • Meanwhile, cook the sausages (if you are using them) and cut them into bite sized pieces. Stir them into the sauce. If the bottom of your sausage pan has burned bits, pour a little liquid into the pan and scrape the bits off -- then add to the sauce.

  • Cook pasta al dente and serve with heaping scoops of sauce.

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