Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Slow cooked tomato basil pasta

Quick-fix meal for when youre too lazy to really cook.

I know slow cooking and quick fix dont really go together, but even though this is a slow cooked dish, it makes for a quick fix meal because the recipe is just a series of acts in assembling the dish, rather than really cooking it. The cooking sort of just happens on its own.

This recipe was shared with me last week by Anand: friend, culinary partner in crime, inspiration and my biggest source of entertainment and company through my days in Goa. Anand visited us last week, a trip that was mostly prompted by the promise of much cooking. We didnt get to do all of what we had planned, but we did get up to some pretty fun kitchen shenanigans. This pasta was just one of the things ;)

It was also just what I needed today, when the flu has left me too tired to really cook and too sick to order in. I needed home cooked food. Even if it was slow cooked pasta. With just tomato and basil.

And a ton of cream and cheese to make it all worthwhile. But Im trying not to focus on that part.

Here's what I used:
1 large onion, chopped
7-8 pods of garlic, finely chopped
1 medium tomato, chopped
1 pack tomato puree
1 knob of butter
Olive oil
Some grated cheese (parmesan if youre feeling fancy, but cheddar will do if you want to make do with what you have in your I did)
Basil (fresh would work wonder, but in the absence of fresh basil dry works just as well)
Fresh cream
Salt, pepper and sugar to taste
Pasta (I used fusilli, because its easy to eat)

Here's how I made it:
Heat up some butter and olive oil. Throw in the chopped garlic and onions and saute till nice and golden.

Next, add in the chopped tomato and stir around, and quickly add in the tomato puree.

Anand showed me how to get every last bit out of the carton, and it only made me realize just how much puree Iv possibly wasted in the last few months :O

Add in the salt, pepper and sugar as per taste. Sugar cuts the overtly tangy tomato-ness, leaving you with just the right smooth creamy silken tomato pulp you need.

Then, cover the pan and let the puree simmer for a good long while. At least 20-30 minutes, opening it only to give it a turn every now and then. This is where you can take a long break and come back only to throw in the last few ingredients in the assembly line.

It isnt called "slow cooked" for nothing. You'll notice that every time you take a peek at the puree when you take the lid off to stir it, the puree would have gotten thicker and darker.

Let it bubble away for as long as possible. In the meanwhile, get a pot of water on. Add some salt and bring it to a boil. Add in the pasta and let it cook. This usually takes anything from 7-10 minutes if youre using fusilli for 2.

After your pasta has cooked for about 10 minutes and your sauce has simmered away for about 30 minutes, turn the heat off on both.

Turn to your sauce, add in the grated cheese, basil and cream. And mix!

Drain the pasta, retaining some hot water. Just in case you want to loosen the sauce a little bit. The slow cooking tends to dry out the tomato puree quite a bit and the best way to bring it back to a looser consistency is to add hot water from cooking the pasta! Something else Anand taught me.

Mix together. And we're done.


  1. okayee the!! Thats din here tonight!

  2. Sounds wonderful. Thanks a ton.

  3. goiing to try tomorrow...sounds yummyliscious!

  4. anon: i know who you are :)

    shruthi and beepee: you must try it!

  5. I just made an adapted version of this for dinner tonight. I added baby corn with the purée and then added the sauce (without cream and cheese) to some boiled rice. I made sure the sauce wasn't too thick and the rice wasn't too dry either, so it came out with the right risotto consistency.

    It came out pretty decent I think.

    Italian tomato rice with babycorn I shall call it. Mushrooms would also work.

    Tastes awesome with some fresh curd. I think some red chilli powder would probably help Indianise the dish a bit.