— CNP

Roast Tomato Sauce

Another late summer essential is tomato sauce. I’m not talking condiment here, I’m talking sugo. Until now, I’d been well-versed in the old blanche, peel, blitz and boil methodology (deseeding was tiresome). It took an Englishman with floppy hair to suggest otherwise (this one) and it seems quite a useful way of doing things. He prefers using lovely heirloom varieties, but what’s in big supply in SA right now are Romas. I’ve done it in two different ways, both with excellent if divergent results. One yielded a rich roast tomato purée that I used as the basis and liquid for a quinoa and vegetable melange, the other made a rustic tomato base for a pasta sauce.

Method 1: purée

Makes about a litre depending on tomatoes

1.5kg Roma tomatoes
2 cloves Australian garlic, crushed with some salt
freshly ground black pepper
50ml extra virgin olive oil

Cut tomatoes in half and place in a baking tray with cut side up. Splash on the other ingredients then roast in 180°C oven for 35-45 minutes, until soft, browning and oozing. Remove, allow to cool slightly, then rub the tray contents through a sieve, discarding the seeds and skin that get left behind.

Quinoa pilaf

Quinoa is à la mode right now with its whole urfood thing going for it, so who am I to skip it.

Serves 3-4

1 quantity of the above tomato purée
1 cup dry quinoa
a big splash of extra virgin olive oil
1 onion
2 carrots, sliced (optional)
1 red capsicum, cut in chunks (optional)
2 small zucchini, cut in chunks (optional)

Heat the oil in a heavy-based saucepan and gently fry the onion until soft. Add the carrots and capsicum (if using) and then a few minutes later add the quinoa and tomato purée. Stir well and simmer. The quinoa should take around 15min to soften (the white ‘tails’ become more prominent) so add the zucchini (or any other vegetables you might be using instead) as required.

Method 2: sugo

Makes just over a litre depending on tomatoes

1.5kg Roma tomatoes
2 cloves Australian garlic, crushed with some salt
freshly ground black pepper
50ml extra virgin olive oil
a mixed bunch of parsley, basil and oregano leaves

Cut tomatoes in half and place in a baking tray with cut side up. Splash on the other ingredients then roast in 180°C oven for 35-45 minutes, until soft, browning and oozing. Remove, allow to cool slightly, then blitz it all in a food processor. The result should be a thick, rich, slightly smoky sugo that’s a perfect base for strong tomato sauces like puttanesca or amatriciana.