Tomato & Mushroom Ragù
This so-simple recipe will soon become a trusty ‘go-to’ in your culinary repertoire. It can turn its hand to a variety of dishes: a simple sauce for pasta, polenta, beans, pulses, or a medley of fresh, seasonal vegetables; a topping for pizza; or a delicious support for seafood, grilled, or roasted meats. Make the basic ragù in bulk and freeze in portions that suit you – I promise you’ll never want to buy a processed tomato-based sauce again. Ever.
In season, I use fresh, peeled tomatoes (just cut a cross in the bottom, dunk them in boiling water for a minute or two and the skin will peel easily). Otherwise, I use good quality organic chopped tinned tomatoes – either way, since we’re not in sun-blessed Italy or Sicily, a little cinnamon or dark brown sugar cuts the acidity of the tomatoes.
When the sauce is almost cooked (or on reheating it if frozen) you can get creative by adding a handful of any variety of sliced or chopped mushrooms and/or finely sliced red peppers (just sauté them first in a little olive oil or butter until soft) and/or stoned black olives per person and ramp up the volume Sicilian-style with freshly-grated ginger and/or finely-diced chilli.
The tomato ragù will keep well in the fridge for several days and (without the mushrooms/red peppers) it will freeze perfectly – just add in the vegetables and a little extra water and seasonings when reheating.