This tomato sauce is exactly what its name says – a wonderfully versatile sauce for all occasions. I make a large batch and freeze it in small jars or ice cube trays to use as the base for pasta sauces, soups, stews, or anything that could do with a bit of pepping up. It stands alone as a pretty decent pasta sauce, too. This recipe first appeared in my first cookbook, A Girl Called Jack, in 2012, but I have updated it slightly here to reflect the rise in basic food costs, eliminating the red wine vinegar and tomato puree for a simpler splat of tomato ketchup – which does the same job, but far more cheaply. Every day is a school day round here.
Makes approximately 6 generous portions at 13p each
2 tbsp light cooking oil, 3p (£3/3l vegetable or sunflower oil, Sainsburys)
1 onion, 9p (80p/1.5kg, Sainsburys Basics)
2 fat cloves of garlic, 5p (35p/2 bulbs, Sainsburys Basics)
a pinch of chilli flakes, 1p (80p/100g, KTC or Natco brand)
2 x 400g tins of chopped tomatoes or passatta, 60p (30p/400g, Sainsburys Basics chopped tomatoes)
2 tbsp tomato ketchup or puree, 3p (45p/460g, Sainsburys Basics ketchup)
First peel and finely chop the onion and garlic. Heat the oil in a saucepan and add the chopped onion. Stir in the garlic and chilli and cook on a medium heat until the onions are translucent and sweet.
Add the remaining ingredients to the pan – the chopped tomatoes and the puree or ketchup. Cook gently, stirring occasionally to disturb and prevent it from burning – for 20 minutes, by which time the sauce should be thickened and a gorgeous glossy red.
Remove from the heat and serve, or divide into portions and either put into the fridge, or allow to cool completely before freezing.
TIPS: I usually eat some immediately over 75g of spaghetti (cooked, 75g is the dried weight!). The remainder can be stored in small Tupperware containers, or if you have children, an ice cube tray makes for handy portion sizes for a quick dinner.
Use it as the base for a sort-of ratatouille, by adding any veg from the bottom of the fridge or freezer drawer.
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