Slow-Cooked Napoletana Sauce

This is a wonderful out of the pantry creation that requires a little time. It’s perfect cooking for those lazy Saturdays or Sundays when you can pop it on early and leave it to slow cook to perfection. It gives back in the sense that once the sauce is made you can use up a little for your meal and freeze the rest for future use.

Here’s What Goes In:

  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 3 tins of whole peeled tomatoes
  • 2 cups of water (500ml)
  • a handful of basil or a mixture of fresh herbs like oregano, marjoram and thyme (don’t chop these)
  • salt to taste
  • 1 small clove of garlic, finely diced
  • a little olive oil for frying

How to do it:

Pre-heat your oven to 160°C. In an ovenproof cast iron pot, fry the onion and garlic until the onion is soft and appears slightly transparent. Add the tomatoes, water, herbs and salt and bring to a gentle simmer. Once your oven is warm transfer the pot to the oven, lid on, and braise for 3 hours until your sauce has thickened and reduced. Check it every hour or so to be sure it doesn’t dry out. It needs enough liquid to keep the tomatoes cooking. If you feel it’s necessary, top it up with water. At the end of the cooking process the sauce should be thick, deep red in colour, and have a distinctive, sweet smell.

Using a slotted spoon try to fish out the whole herbs and discard them. Transfer the sauce to a food processor and pulse it until smooth. You can then use this sauce over cooked pasta, or in a lasagne or melanzane.

Photo by Caroline Miller Photography

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