By Philippe Broad
PARIS, 25 MAY 2010 Very simple and easy to prepare, I prefer
this highly flavoured sauce with chunky, visible onion pieces to a
straightforward tomato sauce. It is excellent with pasta and keeps well in
the refrigerator for several days.
2 x 1 lb cans chopped tomatoes
1 jar normal pesto sauce
2 fairly large onions medium sliced
2 large cloves
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 sprig thyme
Leaves from 2 sprigs basil,
Pepper from the mill
Peel and halve the onions vertically, then medium slice. Peel the
garlic and finely chop. Prepare the basil. Drain any excess juice from the
tomatoes and reserve in a glass.
In a deep lidded pan, gently
sweat the onions with the bay leaf and thyme in the olive oil for two
minutes, then add the garlic. Season with salt and pepper and allow to
cook gently for a further two minutes. Add the drained tomatoes, cover and
simmer over a medium heat.
A good tomato sauce gains flavour with cooking but depending on the
level of natural sugars in the tomatoes and onions, it may caramelise
(i.e. stick to the bottom) earlier than expected. This is not a problem.
Simply stir the sauce briskly with a wooden spoon, scraping the browned
bottom of the pan, to redistribute the liquids evenly and dissolve the
caramel. If this does not work, continue the scraping process adding the
reserved juice from the tomatoes, progressively. The sauce may darken a
little, but its flavour will be enhanced. Withdraw from heat, remove the
bay leaf and thyme and blend in the chopped basil. Check the seasoning and
allow to cool.
As Commercial Attaché at the British Embassy, Paris, for many
years, Philippe Broad played a significant role in teaching the French
that beyond those excellent table manners, the British also have a passion
for excellent food and drink. He has written numerous articles on food and
gastronomy for the French and British press.
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