The Christmas before last I was given a copy of The Flavour Thesaurus by Niki Segnit, a wonderful book. A book to keep by your bed simply to read, as much as it is one to keep in the kitchen. I can't remember when a book last inspisired me to cook so much. It lists different flavours and pairs them with other flavours, and then explains why they work so well. It is full of stories, examples and recipes. One fantastic discovery was this tomato sauce which uses the flavour combination of garlic and basil.
It is ludicrously easy and so satisfying to make. My kids are not great eaters but they love pasta, so i often make this is large quantities and freeze it for them. And the best thing about this recipe is that it's cheap. REALLY cheap! But it tastes expensive.
Tip - use good quality chopped tomatoes. Don't buy the really nasty value ones as they taste of absolutely nothing.
Fry some garlic in olive oil (I would use around one clove per tin of tomatoes) then add the tomatoes and a handful of torn fresh basil leaves. It doesn't look particularly inspiring at this stage, but trust me, it gets better.
Bring to the boil and simmer for a bit. Then push through a sieve, mashing out every last drop of liquid. Pour the very runny, thin looking tomato sauce back into the pan and leave it to simmer for a couple of hours. Eventually it will become the consistency of ketchup. Season it and if you add a tiny bit of sugar and balsamic vinegar it will be even better. I love it. It's like the best tomato soup you've ever eaten times one thousand.
Use it on pizza bases before adding the topping, or as a sauce for pasta or gnocchi. It's really good with spaghetti and meatballs (something my children will actually eat) or mix it with pasta and cheese and bake for a easy and tasty pasta al forno.