At its simplest, you can make a really wonderful meal out of fresh pasta, made shiny with olive oil and dusted with parmesan. If it’s fresh spinach tortellini, the meal even has a vegetable ingredient to it.
But fresh pasta isn’t always in the fridge. Dried pasta and canned tomatoes are much more likely to be around, and the basic, but superb, pasta sauce below – which set the internet marvelling when it was first extracted from Marcella Hazan – is there for when the storecupboard really has burned low.
Empty a can of plum tomatoes into a pan, and break them up roughly with a knife. Peel and halve an onion, and add to the pan. Add a couple of tablespoons of butter (and it does probably have to be butter, rather than the more commonly used olive oil or butter substitute/margarine). Simmer the mixture for 40-45 minutes.
You can add chopped garlic to the mixture at the outset should you wish, but by common consent, it just isn’t needed here: the butter, onion and tomatoes compliment each other perfectly.
After the simmering, remove the onion (which you can still use for something else of course) and serve over cooked dried pasta.
Simple, uncomplicated, and quite astonishingly moreish. And a superb easy base to explore from.