This is the Italian version of tinned spaghetti, before that even existed! It’s a lot tastier, too. Simply tip out and heat in a pan on those days when you want a shortcut. It lends itself well to having basil or freshly ground black pepper added when it’s being heated to serve. It’s perfect to take camping or to the holiday house, and works well as a cold pasta dish too. This is best made in the height of tomato season when the tomatoes are literally too juicy for a lot of other recipes, because it has no other liquid added.
Tip: To sterilise jars or bottles for preserving, give them a good wash then put them on a tray in the oven at 120°C for 10 minutes
- 1.4kg tomatoes, chopped
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 1 tbsp salt
- ½ cup (110g) white sugar
- ½ cup (125ml) balsamic vinegar
- Pinch of cayenne pepper
- 250g spaghetti
1. Combine all the ingredients except the spaghetti in a large, heavy-based pan. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to low. Simmer uncovered for an hour, stirring occasionally to ensure it doesn’t stick, until reduced and thickened.
2. Cool slightly, then use a stick blender (or food processor) to blend until smooth, or to your desired texture.
3. Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil. Cook the pasta, as per packet instructions, until slightly al dente. Meanwhile, reheat the sauce.
4. Drain pasta and add to the sauce. Toss to coat the pasta thoroughly with the sauce. While piping hot, transfer to sterilised jars (see note). Place the lid on and work out any air pockets, then fill again.
5. Seal jars tightly and turn upside down. Leave to cool. Store in a cool dark place for up to 3 months.
Note: To use, simply empty the contents of a jar into a pan and heat. Add fresh basil or chilli if you like, and top with grated parmesan
EXTRACTED WITH PERMISSION FROM NOSTRANA: FLAVOURS FROM MY ITALIAN KITCHEN GARDEN BY BRI DIMATTINA (HARPERCOLLINS NZ, RRP $55).