Simple Tomato & White Wine Pasta Sauce

Simple Tomato & White Wine Pasta Sauce

Having a good pasta sauce recipe under your belt will serve you well in life. Pasta is the ultimate comfort food, and I think I could eat it every day without ever getting bored. This sauce recipe is super simple, stripped back to the very basics, but it’s full of those delicious, Italian flavours that we all know and love. You can knock the whole dish up in 20 minutes, so it’s perfect for a midweek dinner when you’re feeling lazy, but equally you can jazz it up for something a little bit more special. Throw some cooked chorizo or prawns in there (or maybe both), garnish with some garlic bread and pour out the rest of the wine into two glasses and you’ve got yourself a meal fit for a king. The key to the whole thing is fresh herbs – they really are worth it in the flavour stakes. I’ve been trying to grow my own rather unsuccessfully, but it is my aim to always have fresh herbs on hand. Because I’m worth it, obviously (and so are you). 

Simple Tomato & White Wine Pasta Sauce

Simple Tomato & White Wine Pasta Sauce

Simple Tomato & White Wine Pasta Sauce
Serves 2
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Ingredients
  1. olive oil
  2. 1 onion, finely chopped
  3. 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  4. 1 tsp. chilli flakes
  5. 150ml white wine
  6. 400g chopped tomatoes
  7. 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
  8. 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
  9. 1 tsp. sugar
  10. salt & pepper
  11. small bunch of fresh basil
  12. small bunch of fresh parsley
  13. 150g spaghetti
  14. parmesan, to serve
Instructions
  1. Heat the oil in a saucepan over a medium heat. Add the chopped onions and cook slowly for 5 minutes until softened, stirring regularly. Try not to let them go brown - if they're catching, turn the heat down a little.
  2. Add the garlic and the chilli flakes and fry for another few minutes, continuing to stir.
  3. Pour in the wine and allow to bubble for a minute or so, before adding the chopped tomatoes. Add the oregano, thyme, sugar and salt & pepper and stir through.
  4. Allow to simmer over a low heat whilst you cook the spaghetti according to packet instructions (don't forget to salt the boiling water before adding the pasta!).
  5. A minute or so before serving, roughly chop the basil and parsley, discarding the stalks, and stir through the sauce.
  6. Drain the pasta and mix into the sauce. Serve with freshly grated parmesan.
Amy Elizabeth http://amyliz.co.uk/
Simple Tomato & White Wine Pasta Sauce

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Creamy One-Pot Pasta Recipe

one pot pasta 3

The problem with comfort food is that so often it takes a while to prepare. There can be comfort in the preparation, of course; solace can be found in the stirring of sauces and in the methodical chopping of vegetables. If you like cooking, that is. I am well aware that not all will find it soothing to assemble a lasagna from scratch or to create the perfectly seasoned sauce.

This dish combines the warm hug that comfort food brings with a simplicity that will ease the stress of even a novice cook, still trying to navigate their way around the kitchen. If you’ve spent any time on the Internet in the last few months, you’ve probably seen Martha Stewart’s recipe for ‘One Pot Pasta’, and numerous food bloggers’ attempts to make it their own. This is one such attempt.

With weeks of dissertation disasters stretching out across the summer, One Pot Pasta became my go-to dish. Quick and simple to whip up in the midst of referencing and word counts, this is not a dish which is taxing on your skill or time. However, despite it’s simplicity, it manages to fulfil that niche of food which nourishes your heart as well as your stomach. It’s as carb-happy as the next pasta dish, but with a swirl of cream and a kick of chilli to keep things interesting. Plus, it’s still better for you than a packet of Super Noodles.

I’ve been trying out a few different variations, and I think this is my favourite. This One Pot Pasta thing can be kind of addictive; it goes against your better instincts – that pasta should be cooked separately and drained – but it somehow comes together into a thing of beauty. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can spend hours trying out different things, but the basics will remain the same. Tomatoes, onion, pasta, water and seasoning. Back to basics cooking which allows you to add your own creative flair. Some lemon zest and half a tin of tuna stirred through right at the end would make a summery dish fit for lazy August afternoons (sadly now departed), whilst a handful of cooked prawns and some fresh rocket would elevate this dish to dinner party fodder.

This recipe serves just one, but it can easily be doubled, tripled, quadrupled, depending on how many hearts and mouths you need to feed. This dish is truly your oyster.

one pot pasta 1

You’ll need:

  • 2 handfuls of penne
  • 12-15 cherry tomatoes – halved
  • Small wedge of onion – finely chopped
  • Sprinkle of dried oregano
  • Big sprinkle of dried chilli flakes
  • Lots of basil, shredded
  • Salt and pepper
  • Drizzle of olive oil
  • 200ml boiling water
  • Swirl of double cream
  • Parmesan to serve

one pot pasta 2 1. Put all the ingredients except the cream and parmesan in a saucepan and cover with the water.

2. Cover and bring to the boil.

3. After a couple of minutes, remove the lid and turn down the heat a little

4. Simmer until the pasta is cooked to your liking, stirring regularly so the sauce doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan.

5. Pour in the cream and stir through. Keep on the heat for a minute or so until the whole dish is piping hot.

6. Serve with some grated parmesan and extra basil on top.

7. Enjoy!

one pot pasta 4 one pot pasta 5

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The Ultimate Sausage Casserole

sausagecasserole5 I’ll admit, sausage casserole is not the most inspiring of dishes, but I promise you that you’ll find yourself reaching for this recipe time and again. It’s become a bit of a signature dish of mine, and is great if you’re entertaining large numbers. Perfect for winter, it’s warm and comforting, with a little bit of a kick. It’s easy to make, but packs a punch flavour-wise, which is all you’re really looking for from a casserole, right? Right?

sausagecasserole1

  • 6 fat sausages or 8 thinner ones
  • 1 white onion
  • mushrooms (optional, but if you want to use them – about 200g)
  • 1 or 2 cloves of garlic, to taste
  • 1 chilli, to taste
  • can/carton of chopped tomatoes
  • squeeze of tomato paste
  • can of kidney beans
  • salt & pepper (of course)
  • glass of red wine
  • 1 chicken stock cube

sausagecasserole2 Before we start, let’s talk about sausages. The ones I used were just standard, thick pork sausages from the butchers. However, if you can get the right flavoured sausages, it can be an absolute dream. Pork and Black Pepper, Pork with Chilli or even a Spanish-style sausage would all be delicious. The holy grail, however, is sausages with cheese inside. I picked up some sausages with mozzarella inside at the Leeds Loves Food festival last year, and popped them in this casserole. Best decision I made all year.

So, to start this baby off, you’ll need to brown off the sausages for a few minutes. They don’t need to be cooked through, just so the skins have a little bit of colour. Remove from the pan and set aside.

Chop up and fry the onions, until they begin to soften. Add the chopped garlic, mushrooms and chilli and cook for 2-3 minutes. Same as you would with a chilli or a ragu.

sausagecasserole3

Pour in the chopped tomatoes and a squeeze of tomato paste. Add as much wine as you want – the more you add, the richer and deeper the flavour. I suggest around a big glassful, whatever that means to you. Transfer the sausages back into the pan and throw in the kidney beans (don’t forget to drain them first!).

If everything isn’t mostly covered by liquid at this point, add some chicken stock until it looks like this:

sausagecasserole4

And you’re basically done! All you need to do now is bring to the boil and then simmer for around 20 minutes. Stir periodically to make sure you don’t burn the stuff at the bottom.

When the sauce has thickened to your preferred consistency, serve up with some crusty bread. It’ll keep in the fridge for a few days, and is just as delicious the next day (or the day after that). If it’s a little thick when you’re reheating, add an extra splash of wine or stick to loosen the sauce to your preferred consistency.

sausagecasserole6 And there you have it – the ultimate sausage casserole! What’s your favourite warm wintery dish?

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Simple Canapés (on a stick)

I have always loved entertaining. Part of my love of cooking is the delicious flavours and the accomplishment of making something wonderful, and part of it is very much the nice comments from other people. I suffer from an external locus of identity, sue me.

However, despite my desire to create ever more lavish dishes for my guests, there are times when you need something simple yet bursting with flavour. When you’re catering for numbers or contributing to a buffet, these simple canapés on sticks are just perfect. Quick to make, easy to eat and pretty impressive to look at – you’re sure to have your need for compliments satisfied if you pull these out at your New Years Eve bash (or at any other time of year!)

Insalata Caprese (on a stick)

ingredients

Chop up the mozzarella into little chunks (or buy mozzarella balls instead and save yourself the effort, if you can get hold of them) and toss them with some shredded basil, lemon zest and a drizzle of olive oil.

tomatoandmozzerella2

Chop your cherry tomatoes into halves. I just bought the cheapest ones they had, but if you’re feeling fancy, tomatoes on the vine definitely do taste better.

tomatoandmozzerella3

I’m pretty sure you don’t need me to write this out – but pop one tomato half onto your cocktail stick, followed by a mozzarella chunk/ball and topped off with another tomato half. Repeat until all your ingredients are used up. One pack of tomatoes and mozzarella made about 30, so adjust as necessary for the number of guests.

tomatoandmozzerella4

Lay out in a pretty pattern on a plate, drizzle over a little extra olive oil and some more shredded basil for presentation purposes.

tomatoandmozzerella1

Pear Wrapped in Parma Ham (on a stick) with a Balsamic Reduction

This canapé sounds a lot more difficult than it really is – as soon as you say ‘balsamic reduction’ people will be impressed with your cooking skills. This is maybe a bit unusual, but the sweetness of the pear combined with the saltiness of the parma ham, on top of the sharp stickiness of the balsamic is absolutely divine. Trust me on this one. I only used one pack of parma ham and cut it into small chunks, but more is definitely better.

ingredients2

The variety of pears is not of too much importance – I just used conference pears, but I would steer away from any that are too ripe or too sweet (such as a blush pear). To start, peel your pears and cut into bite size chunks. Roll in a slice of parma ham and secure with a cocktail stick.

pearandparmaham1

Pour a glug of balsamic vinegar into a pan and set on a medium heat. Keep an eye on it as it starts to bubble – you’re waiting for it to reduce down and start to thicken into a syrupy consistency. This will only take a few minutes.

pearandparmaham2

Once this starts to happen, pour into a bowl – it will continue to thicken as it cools so don’t leave for too long, you want it to be thick but not so thick that you can’t even stir it! Place a dollop of the balsamic reduction onto the bottom of each canapé and place on a plate. If you have any left after that’s done, drizzle the rest over the plate as artistically as possible with a sticky syrup!

pearandparmaham3

I tore up a little fresh rosemary to decorate the plate, but it’s not vital. This one will raise a few eyebrows if you’re not in a foodie crowd, but you will definitely be the person at the buffet who just wants to eat the food that *you* brought!

pearandparmaham4 pearandparmaham5

What are you favourite canapés on sticks?

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