Easy and delicious, Delia Smith's classic tomato sauce makes every pasta recipe perfect, and is ideal for a vegetarian supper
- 12oz (350g) penne rigate
- 5oz (150g) mozzarella, cubed
- a little finely grated Parmesan, to serve
- a few whole basil leaves, to garnish
- 2lb 8oz (1.15kg) fresh, red, ripe tomatoes, skinned
- 1tbsp olive oil
- 1 medium onion, weighing about 4oz (110g), peeled and finely chopped
- 1 fat clove garlic, peeled and crushed
- about 12 large leaves fresh basil
- salt and freshly milled black pepper
Start by reserving 3 of the tomatoes for later and roughly chop the rest. Next, heat the oil in a medium saucepan, then add the onion and garlic and let them gently cook for 5 to 6 minutes until they are softened and golden. Now add the chopped tomatoes with a third of the basil, torn into pieces. Add some salt and freshly milled black pepper, then all you do is let the tomatoes simmer on a very low heat, without a lid, for 1½ hours or until almost all the liquid has evaporated and the tomatoes are reduced to a thick, jam-like consistency, stirring now and then. Roughly chop the reserved tomatoes and stir them in, along with the rest of the torn basil leaves.
When you are ready to eat, gently re-heat the tomato sauce and put the pasta on to cook. Stir the mozzarella into the sauce and let it simmer for 2 to 3 minutes, by which time the cheese will have begun to melt. Serve the sauce spooned over the drained pasta, sprinkle with Parmesan and add a few fresh basil leaves as a garnish.