Modern pasta masterclass: Three basic sauces
Make in minutes – keep in the fridge for an instant supper
Lean bolognese, two ways
SERVES 4 You can make this with lean beef or turkey and pancetta or with lentils for a vegetarian version. Dice 1 onion, 1 celery stick, 1 peeled carrot and 800g plum tomatoes (or use 2 x 400g cans). Have ready 50g diced pancetta and 250g minced low-fat beef or turkey or 200g beluga lentils. Heat a large, deep frying pan, add the onion, celery, carrot and pancetta, if using, and cook for 5 minutes. Add the minced meat or lentils and cook for 3-4 minutes. Add 100ml red wine, cook for 1 minute, then add the tomatoes and season. Simmer for 20-25 minutes. Serve with pasta and grated parmesan or veggie cheese. Keeps in the fridge for a day or two. 249 cals without pasta.
Traditional pesto – and with a twist
SERVES 4 Peel 1 large or 2 small garlic cloves and blitz with 15g toasted pine nuts in a small food processor with a pinch of salt. Add 25g young basil leaves and, with the processor running, slowly drizzle in 70ml olive oil. Make the pesto as fine or as chunky as you like. Stir in 25g grated parmesan (don’t process – this gives it a better texture – and use a gluten- and dairy-free cheese if you prefer). Add pepper to taste. You can play around with different flavour combinations: try coriander, peanuts and soy sauce or baby kale, basil and pistachios. Keeps in the fridge for a day or two. 170 cals without pasta.
Quick marinara sauce
SERVES 4 Have ready 2 x 400g cans chopped or peeled plum tomatoes, ideally San Marzano, which are particularly sweet. Peel and finely dice ½ onion, peel and mince 2 garlic cloves. Heat 2 tsp olive oil in a medium pan, add the onion and cook for 4-5 minutes, then add the garlic and cook for a minute. Add the tomatoes, breaking up any large pieces. If using tomatoes other than San Marzano, add a pinch of bicarbonate of soda to neutralise acidity. Season and simmer over a medium heat for 20-25 minutes, stirring frequently. Add 1 tbsp torn basil leaves, 1 tbsp fresh chopped oregano and 1 tbsp fresh chopped parsley and a pinch of chilli flakes and reduce for a further 10 minutes. Keeps in the fridge for a day or two. 67 cals without pasta.