Recipe: Simple lemony pasta with a sweet tomato sauce

Charlotte McGarry 31 January 2016

I adore olive oil. It may be more expensive than its sunflower counterpart, but it’s a worthy investment. 1 litre costs just £3.50 in Sainsbury's, and will last you a long time. Olive oil is so tasty that it really does go a long way in making your food instantly taste better, much more than any vegetable oils will. As far as the tomatoes are concerned, I prefer using pomodorinos, but if you’re looking for something cheaper, cherry tomatoes are just as tasty.

The quantities below are rough and by no means definitive. I like chilli and lemon juice, so I’m usually
liberal with both of these, but it’s up to you how much of each you use.

Olive oil (Around a tablespoon)
Small tomatoes (around 3-4 per person)
1 clove garlic
Lemon juice
Black pepper, salt for seasoning
Red chilli (optional)
Pine nuts (optional)

The recipe requires you to use two saucepans at once, one for the pasta and one for the sauce. If you have a pan/hob shortage, cook the pasta first and when it’s ready, put it in a bowl and cover with whatever will keep it warm.

Chop your garlic (and chilli if you want to) finely, and add it to a saucepan with oil. While it’s cooking (you don’t want to let the garlic burn) chop the tomatoes in half. (Or, if you’re as bad at multi-tasking as I am, just chop everything in advance. Or better still, find a minion to do it for you). Once the garlic is nicely cooked (ie. when it starts smelling good) add the tomatoes, and keep stirring them. You don’t want them to completely reduce down to liquid, but you do want a bit of sauce. Ultimately, all the ingredients are tasty, so you can’t really go wrong, regardless of how reduced the tomatoes are. Cook them until you think it looks nice, and at some point add salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, have your pasta cooking. It works nicely to time your pasta to be finished just before the sauce – drain it and stir the lemon juice through. This gives it a tang and concentrates the taste of the lemon.

When you’re satisfied with the look of the sauce, simply add the pasta to the sauce, stir together, and it’s ready to serve! For an added richness, toast some pine nuts lightly in a pan before you start, and add them just before serving.

Cooking time: (including preparation) 20 minutes