Penne with tomato sauce

September 18, 2007

Penne with tomato sauce

I guess posting a recipe for pasta with tom sauce is liking writing a recipe for a cheese sarnie – it’s a patronising statement of the bleedin’ obvious.

My excuse is I wanted to show off a recent addition to my gadget collection – a food mill. Being a luddite I’m suspicious of all things electrical in the kitchen (including my oven) and prefer the reliability and control of grinding, slicing, whipping-up and mushing by hand. I also like the shiny gleaming curves of the mill, and its exuberant handle, which looks like the gear stick on the old Renault 4 my mum had when I was a kid. It’s a bugger to clean, mind.

I guess most people have their own favourite way of preparing tom sauce for pasta, even if it’s just opening a jar of Dolmio. Another excuse for including mine here is that it’s also a way of using up any stray carrots cowering in the shadowy recesses of your veg tray. I like my tom sauce sweet and simple, without herbs, occasionally without even garlic, but always enriched and sweetened at the end with butter.

Tomato sauce for penne

1. Finely dice an onion, a carrot and a couple of sticks of celery. Slowly saute them in butter or olive oil (not extra virgin). After these have started to soften, mash a garlic clove and stir that in.

2. Add a tin of Italian tomatoes (or skinned ripe fresh toms if you’re lucky enough to have a supply) and season well. Cook over a high heat, stirring regularly, for a good 15 or 20 minutes until the toms have broken down and the veg are soft.

3. Pass the sauce through the food mill, using a medium-holed attachment. Put it back in the pan and, if too thick, loosen with a splash of water. Check the seasoning.

4. Add the penne (cooked al dente, natch) to the pan, a good schlep of butter and a grating of parmesan. Mix it all up well and serve immediately. Good olive oil, extra grated parmesan and pepper should be out on the table for everyone to help themselves to.

Penne with tomato sauce

10 Responses to “Penne with tomato sauce”

  1. Joanna Says:

    This is going to sound even more obvious … but where did you buy your mouli? I’ve been longing for one for ages, but can’t seem to find one, and though I’m tempted to go to France, it seems a long way to go for a kitchen gadget! But I’m not so keen on the idea that it’s hard to wash up – I like cooking, don’t mind clearing up, but I truly hate cleaning those fiddly-sharp things that catch the fibres of the green scrubber, the dishcloth, my fingers


  2. gastropunk Says:

    Hi Joanna, I think I bought the mouli from John Lewis on Oxford Street, for about £20. They also have posher ones in Selfridges for almost £50. Maybe John Lewis do mail order if it’s difficult for you to visit a store.
    It’s only tricky to clean in that it comes apart into 3 bits – the funnel, the handle and the sieve (it comes with 4 sieves with different sized holes). I guess it’s easier to clean than most juicers or electric mixers.

  3. Mopsa Says:

    The blessed Mouli – I’ve not seen one for ages but aren’t they great? And that pasta….I wanted to scoop it off the screen. Plain and simple often best.

  4. gastropunk Says:

    Mopsa, in my experience licking your screen can get you in all sorts of trouble. resist the urge!

  5. Jimmy A Says:

    Like it. I find that a little pinch of sugar really brings out the tomatoey flavour as well.

  6. Carolyn Says:

    Wow my mum had one when us kids were babies…didn’t know you could still get them. she had it for several years after as I remember it – what a blast from the past

  7. molly Says:

    Mmmmmmmmm…. I loved it especially with a little bit of pepper!!!!!

  8. i like to search the internet for new kitchen gadgets to add to my kitchen `’.

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