I have this book called Italian Khana Pasta by Ritu Dalmia, owner of the famous restaurant Diva in Delhi. Its a neat little book with some nice recipes for different sauces and lots of options in pasta, from baked macaroni and spaghetti to timbale and gnocchi. It even has Hindi translations of all recipes.
She calls this sauce the backbone of an Italian kitchen, there is this basic one that can be used with pasta or lasagne and the other sauce, which she calls the deluxe sauce that has carrots, onions and celery along with the tomatoes and works better as a sauce on its own
My son is usually very happy with our standard menu of roti, sabji, rice and dal. This is usually the standard for weekday lunches. Last week he requested for pasta for lunch. There were plenty of tomatoes stocked up at home, so I made this really simple tomato and basil sauce that can be used with pasta or pizza.
I have always had this standard pasta sauce recipe that has onions, garlic, tomatoes and some herbs. I usually blanch the tomatoes and use them and so the process does get slightly longer. I found this recipe much faster.
Once you have this sauce ready, you can freeze this for a couple of weeks.
Cook the pasta al dente, as per the instructions and drain. Add the sauce and some olive oil and mix well. Top with grated cheese, serve with warm bread and you have a nice warm meal ready.
My dear friend Miri gifted me this book around this time last year, and she passed away in a couple of weeks after that. I was really shaken and couldn't get myself to even open this book after that, for a very long time.
I can't believe its almost a year now. I miss her so very much.
Tomato and Basil sauce for pasta
Adapted from Italian Khana - Pasta by Ritu Dalmia
What you need -
1kg large ripe tomatoes
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic chopped
1 handful of fresh basil leaves
a pinch of red chilli flakes
1/4 cup water (if required)
salt to taste
1/2 tsp crushed pepper (my addition)
1/4 - 1/2 tsp sugar (to balance the tartness)
What you do with it -
Cut the tomatoes in half and using your fingers, scoop out the seeds. Then cut them in quarters
Heat the oilve oil in a large pan and add garlic and chilli flakes. Once the garlic turns opaque, add the tomatoes.
Cook over high heat till the tomatoes start thickening. Use a wooden spoon to stir and break the tomato pulp.
Add the water if its too dry. I added about 1/4 cup of water.
Tear the basil leaves with your hand and add it along with the salt, sugar and pepper
I added the pepper since the tomatoes were slightly sour. You can skip this if you like
Take it off the heat and put it thru a food processor and pulse it for a minute or so to get a chunky sauce.
I ran it a bit longer and made it slightly smooth since my son doesn't really like chunky pieces too much