I really should stop buying horrible cheap tomatoes, I mean they aren’t even red for starters, tomatoes should be red right? These were more of an orange colour. I’ve tried several times to ripen them in a fruit bowl but they stubbornly just stay the same, the little shits. I refuse to be out-smarted by a tomato.
Tasting literally of nothing and with a firm almost furry texture, these ghastly toms are franky not worth the 70p I paid for them… But that’s such a reasonable price I remember thinking, staring down at them on the supermarket shelf. Whatever, I’m sure they’ll taste fine so I chuck them in my basket. NOOOOOOOO! Why do I always make the same mistake?!
Well that’s an easy question, I’m always skint, so spending £2 on Taste The Difference tomatoes (even though they look devine and juicy) makes me wince ever so slightly, especially when I know I could buy four Snickers bars for the same price. But as I chomp down on my sad, flavourless, sandwich, I realise my 70p tomatoes are duds. Perhaps tomatoes are just one of those foods you should spend the money on. I guess it wouldn’t kill me to eat a few less Snickers bars, cue sad face.
Anyway, so now I’m left with five, unripe, tomatoes so it’s either ruin my sandwiches for the rest of my days, or turn them into pasta sauce. Not only is it a great way to use up unwanted tomatoes but it makes enough sauce to jazz up your pasta dishes for the rest of the week. It’s easy, healthy and turns those rock hard tasteless toms into something rather splendid. Good times.
Tomato Penne with Greens & Beans
Serves 2 / Makes one jar of pasta sauce / Takes 30-40 minutes
Make it vegan: Use vegan red wine and leave off the grated cheddar
(You’ll need a blender if you want a smooth sauce, I use a hand blender)
Half a red onion
2 Chopped garlic cloves
5 Regular tomatoes
2 Tbs tomato puree
4 Tbs red wine
Can plum tomatoes
Tsp dried oregano
Tsp dried basil
Salt and pepper
Tsp olive oil
140g buckwheat penne
3 handfuls of kale
half a can of butterbeans
Mature cheddar finely grated
Extra virgin olive oil
1. Roughly chop the onion and pop it in a large pot or saucepan with a tsp of olive oil on a medium heat. Cook for about five minutes until it starts to soften. Once soft add the chopped garlic and cook for a further 2 minutes. Add a couple of tablespoons of water if the onions are starting to brown to help them steam rather than fry.
2. Roughly chop the tomatoes and add them to the pan along with the tomato puree. Give it a good stir and cook for a further five minutes, until the tomatoes start to break down a bit. Add the wine and the can of plum tomatoes, break the plum tomatoes up with a spoon and give it another good stir. Up the heat until the sauce begins to boil then reduce it back down to a low simmer. Add the dried herbs and season with salt and pepper and cook for 15-20 minutes, stirring frequently.
3. Meanwhile rinse and drain your butterbeans and put to one side (you’ll steam/boil them five minutes before you serve your dish).
4. Weigh out your pasta and bring a large saucepan of water to the boil. When you’re sauce is 10 minutes away from being cooked add your pasta to the boiling water and season with salt (follow packet instructions). This is also a good time to get a smaller saucepan ready to steam/boil your kale and butter beans together (I tend to steam mine but it’s up to you, just remember to season them.)
5. Whilst the pasta is boiling and your veg steaming take the tomato sauce off the heat and blitz with a hand blender or pop it into a regular blender. Be careful not to over blend the sauce though, you still want a bit of texture!
6. Finally drain your pasta and portion onto plates, top with grated cheese, a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Serve with the steamed butterbeans and kale. Good times. (You’ll have plenty of pasta sauce left over so keep it in an airtight tupperware or jar in the fridge for up to a week or portion it out and freeze for up to three months.)
If you’ve had a go at making my tomato pasta with greens and beans or any of my recipes, I’d love to hear about it @corrieheale firstname.lastname@example.org