Pasta · Sauces and dips

Spicy pasta bake sauce

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This is a lovely winter comfort food, but really I could eat pasta bake all year round and for most meals. I really like the pasta bake sauces from the jar, but making your own is so satisfying and tastes even better.

Over the past couple of years, I’ve done a fair bit of tweaking to this recipe as I found a lot of the recipes that I used for inspiration to be a little bland or watery. It comes out creamy (even without the optional cream) and very tangy, which works deliciously with the cheese.

This is great both as a bake sauce or a general pasta sauce if you want a quick meal. This sauce freezes well, and can be stored in the fridge for around a week.

Ingredients | Makes approx 1 jar/ 4 servings | 30 mins

  • 1 medium onion
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1-2 chillies (to taste – mine were really strong so didn’t need many!)
  • 600g of fresh cherry tomatoes, or other tomatoes. I prefer cherry for the tangyness.
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Single cream (optional – I don’t tend to add this but some may not like it as tangy!)

Method

  • Dice the onion and garlic, and separately, chop the tomatoes into quarters.
  • Heat the oil in a large pan on a medium-high heat, then add the onion, garlic and cumin seeds. Fry until the onions start to become soft and slightly brown.
  • Add the tomatoes, coriander, paprika, oregano, balsamic vinegar, salt & pepper, and stir well.
  • Bring to the boil, reduce heat to low, cover pan with a lid and simmer.
  • Check and stir every 5 minutes or so – this should be ready after around 20 minutes of simmering.
  • Remove pan from the heat, and blend with a hand blender or food processor.

The sauce can be used immediately with pasta (or chicken, tofu or Quorn!) or stored for later. For a pasta bake, use exactly as you would use a bought jar.

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