It’s a basic and very frugal meal, but one that people so often get wrong. Pasta sauce should be thick and stick to the pasta, it should never be watery. If you can drink it, you’ve made it too thin!
Making a decent pasta sauce is much like crafting a great story. It needs time, care and plenty of attention.
If you are impatient and try to write the story before you’ve given it enough time to simmer and reduce down to its best bits, your plot, characters and message will be watery and diluted. The same is true of pasta sauce.
You need to give it time to reduce down so a large amount of the water evaporates from the tomatoes which will leave you with a deliciously rich and thick sauce. Give it at least an hour and stir frequently to ensure nothing sticks and burns on the bottom.
H.P. Lovecraft famously existed on little else which is no surprise since it’s one of the cheapest meals you can eat. He had his with beef mince, but times have changed and you can buy twenty frozen sausages for less than £1 where beef mince will set you back quite a bit more.
This is one of those comforting meals best enjoyed from a bowl with a fork (no knife—my grandmother would be horrified) while devouring a favourite paperback—I chose Emma by Jane Austen.
Total Cost (approx.): £6.74
Cost per Serving (approx.): £0.84
6 tins chopped tomatoes
6 frozen sausages
1 pack (grams) mushrooms, chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 tsp dried basil
A splash of balsamic vinegar
Salt & Pepper
Cook the sausages in your oven according to the instructions on the packet.
While the sausages are cooking, put the chopped onions and a drizzle of vegetable oil in a pan with a heavy lid and cover on a medium heat. Let the onions sweat for around ten minutes.
Take the lid off and add the chopped mushrooms and let them fry for around ten minutes.
Add the chopped garlic and let it cook for a couple of minutes with the mushrooms and the onions.
Take out the sausages and leave them to cool.
Tip in the tins of chopped tomatoes, the splash of balsamic vinegar, 1 tsp of dried basil and season to taste. Stir and let it bubble away happily—not violently—on a medium heat.
Chop your sausages into pound coin sized discs and add it to the sauce.
Let the sauce reduce down for around an hour and stir around every ten minutes to ensure nothing sticks to the bottom. Lower the heat if the sauce is spitting a lot—you don’t want your kitchen to look like a murder scene.
Cook your pasta according to the instructions on the packet.
Serve your pasta and sauce in a bowl and top with the grated cheese. Grab a fork and a good book and enjoy.