tomato sauce

Florence Knight

It's always a pleasure to have meals half ready at home, so all you need to do is cook some pasta, crack an egg or two, or fry a few prawns when you get in.
Slow-cooked tomato sauce is a classic, and easily mastered. Cooking it this way highlights how versatile it is. Stir it through pasta, with chickpeas and an extra pinch of chilli, or loosened with fish stock for a quick soup. It can be tweaked and adapted to go with whatever else you have in the kitchen. A big hatch kept in the fridge makes for quick suppers, last-minute guests and lazy days.

Make sure to cook the onions very slowly, so they melt into the olive oil. Choose the finest whole plum tomatoes you can find; my absolute favourite are Antonella from Sardinia.

1 hr 15 mins

6 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 white onions, finely sliced
3 garlic cloves, finely sliced
A pinch of dried chilli
2kg whole plum tomatoes (8 x 400g tins, drained)

Pour the oil into a heavy-bottomed wide-based saucepan. Stir the onions through the oil along with tsp salt. Cover with a lid and cook over a low heat for 15-20 minutes. The onions should be soft, but without colour.

Add the sliced garlic and pinch of chilli, and cook for 5 minutes. Pour in the drained tomatoes, breaking them up with a wooden spoon. Cook over a low heat for 40 minutes, stirring every so often.

Leave to cool before covering and store in a clean container in the fridge, where it will keep for a few days, or in the freezer for a month or two.