I am attempting to grow my own herbs with varying degrees of success and have struggled to find my green fingers.
Growing herbs simultaneously has proved difficult – basically they all wither and die – and I am now channelling my efforts into raising one little basil plant in its own individual pot.
Basil is looking very healthy and green and I am almost scared to detach the leaves in case it dies, but the time has come to use it or lose it, after all who wants a six-foot herb growing in their kitchen.
So earlier this week, craving comfort food I knocked up a delicious tomato and mascarpone sauce. It is quick and easy to make and perfect if, like me, you have an abundant supply of lovingly cared for basil leaves sitting in your kitchen window.
- 1 shallot finely chopped
- 20 grams butter
- 50 ml white wine vinegar
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 500 ml passata
- 125 grams mascarpone
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tsp crushed black peppercorns
- 1 tsp oregano
- 10-15 basil leaves (roughly chopped)
- 1 tsp sugar
- 10-20 grams grated cheddar cheese (optional)
- Melt the butter in a large saucepan or ceramic casserole dish and add the finely chopped shallot.
- Add the salt, black pepper and white wine vinegar.
- Turn the heat down and gently sauté until the shallot has softened.
- When the white wine vinegar has evaporated, add the tomato puree and make sure the onions are well coated.
- Pour in the passata and stir through the mascarpone, oregano, sugar and basil and simmer for 20 minutes. The sauce will become lighter in colour.
- In a separate saucepan cook your pasta of choice as per the packet instructions.
- If the sauce has become very thick, add a ladle or two of the cooking water from the pasta.
- Drain the pasta and mix into the sauce.
- Transfer to a bowl, sprinkle with fresh black pepper and grated cheese and enjoy.