Saturday, 12 October 2013

Tomato pasta sauce packed full of veg!

I've been making this 'pasta' sauce since Miss 9 was a baby, (although it has evolved over time of course). So, I thought it was about time that I blogged it :). This tomato-based sauce is so versatile and nutritious, you can use it to create a vege-packed bolognaise or add some chickpeas, baby spinach and spices for a vegetarian meal. I have always preferred to make my own pasta sauce, so I converted this recipe for the Thermomix very early on when I could see how very simple it would make this recipe to prepare. 

If you buy the bottled kind of tomato pasta sauce, unfortunately, as with any can, jar or carton of juice, soup, sauce or vegetables you find on the supermarket shelf, the nutrition has been largely destroyed by pasteurisation or ultra heat treatment (UHT) . . . plus you'll find that some cans are lined with BPA-based lining, so watch out for this too. The Food Standards Agency requires that food is heated to produce a 'commercially sterile shelf-stable product'. This heat treatment kills food spoiling microorganisms, as well as pathogens (microorganisms that cause illness), but unfortunately it also destroys enzymes and nutrients that are not heat stabile, such as vitamin C and the B group vitamins. An exception is lycopene, an antioxidant found in tomatoes and other red fruits which gives them their red hue. Lycopene levels are found to increase with cooking time, such that processed tomato products are an excellent source of this antioxidant, however it is also likely that other beneficial antioxidants in tomatoes are destroyed in the same process. So, it's a good idea that tomatoes feature both raw and cooked in your diet for full nutritional benefit :)

This recipe calls for canned tomatoes, but you could very easily substitute fresh . . .I would cook them first to develop their flavour (follow the EDC method). Personally, I would prepare the tomato component of this recipe from scratch if our little tomato bushes on the balcony were productive enough! Unfortunately, I don't think that the Hong Kong heat and humidity is all that suitable for tomato growing, although we might have had a better season if the recent wet and wind hadn't washed away our blossoms! Oh well, it's all part of the fun :)

This sauce has a lovely richness of flavour as well as sweetness. You can choose to blend or not to blend, depending on how your family prefers it. We like it a little chunky as you can see in the pic. This recipe makes a TM bowlful bursting at the seams. I freeze the sauce in ready-to-go portions which cover us for several meals.

1 red capsicum (pepper), blackened, peeled & chopped
2 sml or 1 lge carrot (about 100g), cut into chunks
120g mushrooms
1 sml zucchini (200g)
1 apple, cored & quartered
40g EVOO
1 brown onion, halved
3-4 cloves garlic
3 x 400g cans chopped tomatoes, BPA-free
400g tomato passata 
50g tomato paste (or concentrate)
100g wine or filtered water
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tsp dried oregano, basil or mixed herbs
2 dried bay leaves
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Himalayan or sea salt, to taste
good handful fresh basil leaves

1. To chargrill red capsicum: Hold the capsicum with the stem upright and remove the core as you slice downwards to create 4 large pieces (or cheeks). Remove any membranes or seeds. Place each of capsicum pieces on a sheet of foil on an oven tray under a hot grill for about 10 minutes or until blackened and blistered. Remove from grill, fold up the sides of the foil and wrap ensuring that the steam cannot escape. Allow to cool, over which time the steam will condense and allow for the skin to be easily removed. Peel of the skin and cut into chunks.

2. Add carrot, mushrooms, zucchini and apple to TM bowl and chop on speed 4 for 10-15 seconds until evenly chopped. Decant into a bowl and set aside. 

3. Add onion and garlic to TM bowl and chop on speed 7 for 5 seconds. Add 40g olive oil and sauté for 3-4 minutes at 100°C on speed 1

4. Return chopped vegetables and apple to the TM bowl and add can or fresh tomatoes, passata, tomato paste, dried herbs, wine or water, and combine on speed 4 for 6 seconds. Add bay leaves and cook at 100°C for 25 minutes on reverse speed 2. Place the basket on top to prevent spitting. 

5. Remove the bay leaves using the spatula and add roasted red capsicum, fresh basil and balsamic vinegar. Blend on speed 4-5 for 5 seconds, or to your liking.

uses & variations
  • add can tuna or salmon & serve with pasta
  • add cream cheese or cream for a creamy sauce (blend into the sauce at step 5 and heat a little further)
  • add freshly minced beef & cook up a batch of spaghetti for a quick spaghetti bol (see method below)
  • Stir through some fresh baby spinach, cooked chickpeas and serve with a little brown rice, for a quick vegetarian meal. 
  • add fresh or dried chilli (to taste) for a kick!

For a bolognaise sauce:
Add 1 x rump steak, cut into chunks,  to TM bowl and pulse on turbo 3-4 times for a chunky mince. Scrape the minced meat off the blade with the spatula, then add 20g EVOO and cook for 6-8 minutes on Varoma, reverse speed soft. Then add 500-1000g of the tomato pasta sauce (recipe above), depending on the number of people you are serving and how meaty you like your bolognaise. Add 1-2 tsp of your favourite stock paste and cook for 10-15 minutes at 100°C on reverse, speed 1-2Serve with lightly steamed spiralised zucchini or pasta of your choice. 

1 comment:

  1. Really tasty, and so easy to get all the veg in with the thermie