Spaghetti with olives and tomato sauce

Put this in the middle of the dinner table and let everyone help themselves.

  • Preparation Time25 mins
  • Cooking Time100 mins
  • Serves4
  • DifficultyEasy
500g dried spaghetti
4 tbsps olive oil
180g mixed olives, pitted, halved
1/2 tbsp red pepper flakes, plus more if desired
720ml tomato sauce, recipe follows
60g cup grated Parmesan cheese
5g basil leaves, shredded

For the simple tomato sauce

8 tbsps extra virgin olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2kg crushed tomatoes
2 dried bay leaves
55g unsalted butter (optional)
1) In a large pan, bring 6L of salted water to the boil. Add the pasta, stirring constantly for the first minute to help prevent it from sticking together. Cook until al dente, about 8 to 10 minutes.

2) In a large frying pan, heat the oil. When it is almost smoking, add the olives and chilli flakes. Saute for three minutes over a medium high heat. Reduce the heat to low, carefully pour in the tomato sauce and simmer for 10 minutes.

3) Drain the pasta in a colander, reserving 60ml of the pasta water. Add the pasta to the sauce and toss to coat completely. Add the pasta water if you need to thin out the sauce a little more. Serve the pasta and sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese and basil.

For the simple tomato sauce:
1) In a large casserole, heat the oil over a medium high heat. Add the onion and garlic and saute until soft and translucent, about 5 to 10 minutes. Add the celery and carrots and season with salt and pepper. Saute until all of the vegetables are soft, about 5 to 10 minutes.

2) Add the tomatoes and bay leaves and simmer, uncovered, on low heat for one hour or until thick. Remove the bay leaves and check for seasoning. If the sauce still tastes acidic, add some unsalted butter, one tablespoon at a time, to round out the flavours.

3) Place half the tomato sauce into the bowl of a food processor. Process until smooth. Continue with remaining tomato sauce. If not using all the sauce, allow it to cool completely and pour 240ml to 480ml portions into plastic freezer bags. It will freeze for up to six months.
Yield: 1.5L

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