Tomato tagliatelle

14 Jul 2015

If a cheese sauce is a must-know for cooks, than surely a tomato one is as well? I mean, tomato sauces crop up everywhere in some shape or form (in cooking that is, I'm not suggesting you're about to bump into a tomato sauce on the tube), so it's got to be one of the essentials. This was my logic for my next cooking venture anyhoo. Mary and I are back in the kitchen and it's time to try some tagliatelle with, you guessed it, tomato sauce. This time, I'm also cooking for my Mum, so there's slightly more pressure to not bugger it up. I'd also like to avoid burning myself this time around.

So here were go. 

For tagliatelle and tomato sauce, you will need (serves 3-4): 
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, peeled and finely chopped
2 x 400g cans chopped tomatoes 
2 teaspoons caster sugar
1 teaspoon thyme (Mary says fresh, but dry seemed to work well)
1 bay leaf 
500g tagliatelle 
fresh basil leaves
cheese (Mary says Parmesan but it's a personal choice) 
salt and pepper 

Heat the oil in a pan until hot. Add the onion and cook over low heat until soft. 

Add the tomatoes, sugar, thyme, bay leaf, salt and pepper to the pan and stir well. Once boiling, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes. 

This has all been relatively simple so far... no burns as of yet... 

After 30 minutes, remove the bay leaf and keep the sauce hot over a low heat whilst cooking the tagliatelle according to packet instructions. 

Drain the tagliatelle and pour over the tomato sauce. 


Serve up with grated cheese and fresh basil leaves on top.

Simples! And tasty! Even Mum agreed. 

Kate's learning corner
Where I share what I've learnt from each recipe. This isn't just for fun ya know! 

The bay leaf. 

This was a slight source of mystery to me. I didn't quite understand why I was supposed to drop in a random leaf and then take it out again half an hour later. What kind of witchcraft does that leaf get up to in my tomato sauce (behave)?! I very nearly didn't include it here (I couldn't find any in Sainsbury's local) until I discovered a pack in my mother's herb drawer (yes she has a whole drawer). However, this meant I did do a bit of research on these suspicious bay leaves, just to double check they weren't essential. What I gathered is that they're not. For example, this tagliatelle would probably have been absolutely fine without. However, the bay leaf adds a subtle flavouring. It's never going to be the star player of the recipe, just as a bit of black pepper isn't, but that doesn't mean it won't contribute to the all round tastiness. Considering how simple this dish is to make (even for me), it's very tasty and I'm in no doubt that the bay leaf contributed to that. Next time a recipe tells me to include one, I shan't considered ignoring the advice. Thanks internet!

Don't skimp on the green stuff.

Whenever my Mum used to randomly throw green leaves on food, I would always have a subtle teenaged strop (it's okay, I actually was a teenager, I don't still do this). I didn't get it and would have to force the green stuff down my throat. But now, particularly since making this recipe, I'm learning to appreciate the extra flavour those little green leaves bring to the dish. The basil leaves are a very important part of this recipe, the final taste wouldn't be half as good without them. Make sure you get plenty in!