fusilli bucati with fresh tomato sauce


Lindsey Bareham

It really is worth taking the trouble to make fresh tomato sauce. There are many ways to do it but stewing then sieving a mix of plum and cherry tomatoes with a hint of garlic in olive oil and butter gives great results. A knob of butter at the end gives a sweet, glossy finish. The sauce has many uses but to celebrate the start of British Tomato Week, try it spooned over curly pasta tossed with parmesan and torn basil. Heavenly.

serves 4, prep 15 min, cook 30 min

8 large plum tomatoes, 800g
200g cherry tomatoes
4 garlic cloves
3 tbsp butter
2 tbsp olive oil
400g fusilli bucati or other short pasta
Handful of basil leaves

Cut the cores out of the plum tomatoes in a pointed plug shape. Coarsely chop. Quarter the cherry tomatoes. Finely chop the garlic. Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a medium, lidded pan over a medium-low heat. Stir in the garlic, stir fry until aromatic but stop before it browns, then add the tomatoes with a generous pinch of salt. Stir for a couple of minutes then cover, reduce the heat slightly and cook for 15 min, giving the occasional stir, until very juicy, the tomatoes soft.

Tip into a sieve over a bowl and force the flesh through with the back of a wooden spoon. Keep at it, scraping underneath too, until only seeds and skin remain. Return to the pan and simmer, stirring often, for about 10 min until thick. Beat in half the remaining butter. Cook the pasta al dente according to packet instructions. Drain, return to the pan with remaining butter, torn or chopped basil and 3 tablespoons of finely grated parmesan. Serve pasta topped with sauce and extra parmesan.