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The best things in life are often simple. It’s with great pleasure that we spend a whole afternoon making pasta, but with even greater pleasure that we remember the sugo to go with it will only take half an hour to make. This is our super quick and tasty tomato and basil sauce.
Reading: how to make basilico pasta sauce
Aside from its simplicity, the beauty of this sauce is its versatility. You can make it with only tinned and dried pantry items, or you can use fresh ingredients in their place. Maybe you forgot to do the shopping, you live in a tent, or possums ate your basil; a sugo remains attainable. Likewise if you have the time and inclination for a deeper flavour, you can cook it for longer; but if you’re in a tearing hurry to get that pasta into you, ten minutes will (arguably) do it. It also pairs with just about any pasta you can imagine. Ah, perfetto!
It all starts with the soffritto. This is a quick sauce, cooked on high heat in a frypan (to give its own depth to the tomatoes), so you can afford to be less careful with your soffritto than you would for a big slow cooked sugo. But still treat it with respect! Use good quality extra-virgin olive oil, and lots of it, and remember that you’re softening the onion and garlic, not frying it.
Next, toss in a big handful (or many little ones) of fresh basil, or a generous teaspoon or two of dried if you really have to. Here we’ve gone for a mix of regular basil and the slightly punchier dark-stalked Greek basil.
Add a tin of whole peeled tomatoes and mash them up a bit in the pan; season with a pinch of sugar and salt. And don’t forget to slosh some water around in that tin to get every last bit! Then just cook it for 20 minutes or so on relatively high heat, stirring often, until you’re happy with the complexity of the flavour.
There’s nothing wrong with adjusting to a shorter cooking time and slightly rawer taste, but I personally find that that’s best suited to fresh tomatoes. Tinned will still work in a pinch, but even with the addition of sugar you may have difficulty offsetting the bitterness.
Real talk here: mix your pasta into the sauce, be it in the pan or a new bowl. This ridiculous sauce served on top of drained pasta thing… It kills me. Don’t be that sauce on top of the pasta person.
If you’ve been following our blog, you will have seen our signature spinach ravioli. We are completely obsessed with these. If you’ve just finished making your very own batch, then this is the perfect sauce for you! Alternatively, you might want to try our quicker spinach fettuccine, or even our handmade paccheri.
Whatever you eat it with, relish those simple classic flavours. And, as always, buon appetito!
– Al & Al.