Pasta with tomato sauce is a classic. I’ve made it plenty of times, with a variety of vegetables, herbs and other flavours, and it’s never bad. But last week, I really hit the good side of variance and the pseudo-random combination of ingredients I choose turned out to make a sauce that was really above the curve. I won’t say it’s the best tomato sauce ever – the tomato sauce parameter space is vast – but it was good enough to make me want to write down the recipe for future sauce making.
for 4-5 servings
coconut or other oil
4 garlic cloves
3 bay leafs
salt & pepper
2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp capers
1 tbsp caper brine
splash of red wine vinegar
stock cube of bouillon powder
~100 mL water
400 g passata di pomodori (tomato sauce base)
470g green lentils (drained weight, this is 2 cans)
Chop the onion and finely chop the garlic. Heat up a saucepan and add your oil, turn the heat to medium once the pan is hot. Fry the onion for a few minutes, then add garlic, bay leafs and some dried oregano. Fry for another minute or so and add a generous amount of salt and pepper.
Finely chop your capers, add them and the sugar to the pan and stir. Add caper brine, red wine vinegar, stock cube or bouillon powder, and some water. Cook this for a few minutes to make sure sugar and stock/bouillon powder are dissolved. Then take the pan of the heat and whiz everything with a hand blender into a smooth base for your sauce. (Alternatively, you can transfer the mixture to a blender and blend it like that).
Put back on the heat and add passata and drained lentils. Let this simmer for a while and season with more salt/pepper/sugar to taste, if needed. Serve over cooked pasta, optionally with some nutritional yeast and a side of vegetables!
 To tase means: taste it and use your judgment to decide what, if anything, needs to be added. It can also mean “according to your taste” but that goes for everything!
 I made fried aubergine slices. Slice an aubergine into approximately 1cm thick, round slices. Cover both sides of each slice in a thin layer of flour. Then fry them in oil turning frequently. I works well if you also cover the frying pan with a large lid in between turnings, to make sure the aubergine is thoroughly cooked by the time the outside is fried brown.
[2+] Alternatively, you could add some vegetables to the sauce. I actually made this pasta because we had some leftover leafy greens, but them forgot to actually add them… So for my last portion of leftover when there was no aubergine left, I added fried greens to the pasta instead.