Penne alla Napolitana
This classic Italian pasta dish of penne and Napolitana sauce is confirmation that the simple things in life are often the best (and even better if you ask my friend Bruna!).
To get this recipe right, you have to use very ripe tomatoes or the best-quality Italian tinned tomatoes that you can find. Add the basil just before serving to keep it fresh and green.
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 small carrot, chopped
1 celery stalk, finely sliced
½ teaspoon chilli flakes
2 sprigs fresh oregano
800g tinned peeled and chopped tomatoes
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon sugar (optional)
3 tablespoons basil shredded
400 grams penne
60 grams parmesan cheese
Heat oil in a large, deep saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic. Cook, stirring, for 3 minutes or until onion has softened. Add the carrot, celery, chilli flakes and oregano; cook for a further 2 minutes.
Add the tomatoes and tomato paste; bring to the boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes, or until the sauce thickens, stirring occasionally.
Just before serving, stir in the basil and season to taste. If the sauce is too sour, add a teaspoon of sugar. And stir through.
Add the basil; cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.