By Mia McCarthy
Cost: * Yield: 1.5 litres of sauce Difficulty: easy
Cooking can be like therapy, which is perhaps why I have taken to it with such vigour and enthusiasm. I spent R800 an hour to have a seasoned professional tell me that I needed a healthy outlet for my frustration. Since then, I’ve become a professional at well-seasoned, healthy meals, and I’m generally a much less frustrated person.
The therapist was right. Slicing, chopping, crushing, habitually setting things on fire, and brandishing a large knife, it turns out, does wonders for your anger levels. In the benevolent interest of managing national frustration levels and slashing therapy costs, I’ve decided to share some of the things I’ve learned to manage my frustration with you.
What better place to start than with my Angry Tomato Sauce recipe?
Listen. Before we get stuck in, it’s my duty to explain that the sauce itself does not inspire anger. The people I’ve served this sauce to report feeling nothing short of love. It’s a lovely, velvety, rich red sauce; the butteriness is balanced out beautifully by the tart acidity of the tomatoes. Toss your pasta in it, spread it on a pizza base, drop it in a soup, slather it on a slice of sourdough toast - the options are endless. It’s also dead-easy and bound to impress even the advanced home cook. All you need is time. And thyme. If it’s in season.
What you’ll need
4 X tins of whole, peeled tomatoes
1 X onion
2 X carrots
200g(ish) of butter (I measure this with my heart)
A big bunch of fresh, seasonal herbs: good ones include thyme, parsley (curly or Italian is fine), basil, and oregano
A whole head of garlic (I also measure this with my heart)
You can also chuck in a few sticks of celery but, to reduce food waste, I only use it if I already have some in my fridge
Relatively deep roasting dish
An oven preheated to 150 degrees Celcius
There really is not very much to this. As I said, it’s dead easy.
1. Prep your veg: peel the garlic and onion, de-leaf your celery, and slice the tops off your carrots. The blessed thing about this recipe is that you do not have to chop anything finely! As long as your veggies all fit in your pan, you don’t have to do much more than halve the carrot and celery and quarter the onion. The garlic cloves can all go in whole. Once they’re prepped, set your veggies aside.
2. This is the fun bit. Empty the tinned tomatoes directly into your roasting pan and crush them between your bare hands. I mean it. Really get in there. Squash those fleshy tomatoes until they splatter and, while you’re doing it, exorcise any deep-seated frustrations. Let out a guttural growl, if the spirit takes you. This is your chance! Eviscerate the tomatoes!
3. Now that you’ve cleansed yourself of some negative emotions, take a break to acknowledge your breakthrough. Maybe nibble on a carrot while you ponder your newfound emotional maturity. When you’re ready, you can chuck you prepped veggies and your chosen herbs in with the crushed tomatoes. Give them a good mix.
4. Cube your butter and drop it into the mixture. Drizzle a generous amount of olive oil over everything and pop the entire ensemble into the warm oven.
5. Now, you wait. For hours. It’s best to do this in the morning so that it’s totally ready by the time you want it. Let it roast for up to six hours, stirring every forty minutes or so to prevent burning. If you’re in a pinch, you can also cook it at 180 degrees Celcius for 2-4 hours. I’ve tried a number of combinations, and they’ve all turned out great. This sauce is very forgiving, even of the angriest home cook. You’ll know you’ve got a good sauce when there’s a nice browning along the sides of the roasting pan. That’s called the Maillard reaction, and it’s the sign of wonderful things happening in the chemistry of your cooking. You can whip that one out at your next dinner party and impress everyone. It’s on the house. If the edges are turning black, cover with some tin foil and pop it back in the oven for your remaining cooking time.
6. When your sauce is done, take it out of the oven and let it cool. Pick out any unwanted elements, like the stalks of your thyme, and either pour into a blender or into a bowl for an immersion blender. I leave the carrots in for added bulk, but it’s totally up to you. Salt to your taste and blend to your desired consistency.
There you have it. The most divine Angry Tomato Sauce. This recipe refrigerates for about a week and freezes well, too. It’s one of the most versatile recipes in my repertoire, and now it’s in yours! Here’s to happy cooking and happier home cooks.