'Pasta and five tomatoes'


  • 1kg of tomatoes - five or more varieties, but try to include some San Marzano toms, traditionally used to make pasta sauce.

  • 1-2 tbsp tomato purée

  • 2 good-sized garlic cloves, very finely chopped

  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

  • Handful of fresh basil, rolled up and sliced

  • Smattering of hard Italian cheese, finely grated (optional)

  • Wholemeal pasta of your choice (I like fat spaghettoni or fusilli)


  • Chop all the tomatoes up into even-sized pieces They needn't be too small. 

  • Place the toms into a big, non-stick pan (a casserole is good) and add a splash of water from the tap.

  • Heat the tomatoes over a medium-high heat, stirring regularly so they don't catch on the bottom. The water will help prevent this and speed up cooking with some steaming action. 

  • Once the tomatoes start to break down, add the garlic, reduce the heat to a very low simmer and cover with a lid. Leave to cook very slowly for as long as you can (I like to leave mine for around two hours) but be sure to lift the lid to stir occasionally. 

  • Add the tomato purée, balsamic and 3/4 of the fresh basil and bring up to the boil again, before reducing back down to a low simmer. 

  • Meanwhile cook your pasta according to the instructions.

  • Drain the pasta and plonk into the pan of rich sauce, stirring through.

  • Serve in big bowls, topped with more fresh basil and a light dusting of cheese. 


Serves 2


  • All the veg are full of vitamins, minerals and in the case of the tomatoes, antioxidants such as lycopene. 

  • Wholemeal bread is rich in fibre and can help lower cholesterol.

  • Basil is believed to be powerfully antioxidant, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory.