Monday, March 05, 2007

Recipe: DrGaz's nice Italian-style tomato & basil sauce with pasta.

There are endless variations on this recipe, but this is my generic DrGaz one that you can customise. Exact measures are not important. Just be free to experiment and cook it to your taste! This recipe is so quick and simple and makes a great meal. After you learn to make your own basic sauce, you’ll never want to go and buy one off the shelf again. You can also customise the dish in many ways (a few suggestions are at the bottom of the recipe).

Serves 2 people.


  • Olive oil
  • 8 medium-sized tomatoes (I use nice vine-ripened Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference ones).
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • Salt
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • ½ tsp mild chilli powder
  • Fresh basil – a fistful of washed leaves
  • Penne Pasta (however much you need for 2 people).
  • 2 tbsp capers (use the ones preserved in salt rather than in vinegar)


  1. Skin the tomatoes by pricking them with a fork and then dunking them in just-boiled water for a minute or two. Take them out of the water then remove the skin when they’ve been in for long enough for it to come away easily. Note: Make sure that you use good-quality ripe tomatoes. Use cheapies at your peril! They can be impossible to skin.
  2. Heat a large skillet and add a generous slug of olive oil. Chop the tomatoes and cook gently. The tomato bits will gradually start to turn into a sauce, so just keep it on a light simmer.
  3. Chop the garlic and crush it to a paste with a knife, then add it to the tomatoes.
  4. Add the chilli, chopped basil, pepper, and washed/chopped capers.
  5. After everything has been lightly simmering together for about 20mins, add some salt gradually until it tastes spot-on. Salt is an essential ingredient in cooking, so if the sauce doesn’t taste right, then it’s probably because you simply haven’t added enough of the white stuff.
  6. Serve with the boiled and drained pasta (you can always stir the pasta into the sauce at the end – this is the way I usually do it).

A few variations on a theme:

Why not experiment by trying out one of the following options?

  • Chuck in a few chopped olives
  • Bung in a drained tin of tuna (works really well with the capers).
  • Leave out the capers and instead spice it up a bit with mild-chilli for Penne al Arrabiatta.
  • Leave out the capers and add some olives and a dash of Balsamic vinegar for a different nuance.

Well that’s another DrGaz recipe for you, folks! Please try it and let me know how you got on by leaving a comment below.

1 comment:

VagabominatioN said...

Well I dunno about this one, but your spag-bols back in Bournemouth used to kick major ass! :)