Archive of posts with category 'sauces'

Vegetable pasta sauce in a jar – Merry Christmas!

Holiday season is approaching and I would like to give some tips and inspiration in case you decide to go for the DIY gifts this year. The kitchen is offering plenty of ideas that you can cook yourself and there is nothing better than giving your time (and the time you spent cooking!) to show how much you care to someone. Remember that time will never be back!

I would like to show you a quick and easy idea I made: home made pasta sauce. This is a vegetarian and delicious recipe that you can make in no time if you follow the steps below.

What you need:

  • 3 small aubergines
  • 1 onion
  • 500 ml tomato passata
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 3 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp of caster sugar
  • glass jars (different sizes but make sure they fit at least 500 ml of passata)

How to make it:

First step is to sterilize your jars: wash thoroughly the jars with dish soap and rinse them well (and I mean very well or they will taste like soap). Place the jars & the lids in a deep pot, cover with cold water until all jars are covered and bring the water to the boil (IMPORTANT: do not place the glass jars directly into hot/boiling water or the glass will break. Water must be cold!).

After 15 minutes remove the jars from the water, place them on a clean cloth and allow them to dry completely (make sure you do not touch the hot water directly with your hands: use tongues or any other tool that you might find handy for this operation): you don’t want to burn yourself.

While the jars are drying, start preparing the sauce. Heat 2 tbsp of E.V.O. in a pan, finely chop the onion and once the pan is hot add in the onion and the garlic clove. Once the onion has got a golden and crisp look, add in the chopped aubergine and reduce the heat to a medium level. Cook the aubergines for 5 minutes (until they softened) and ensure you keep stirring so they don’t burn. After 5 minutes add the tomato passata, the sugar, stir well, cover and let your sauce cook for 15 minutes on a low heat.

After this time check the taste of the passata: feel free to add more spices/herbs/salt to taste and let the sauce cool down for a while.

You now need to transfer the sauce into the jars: do so when the sauce is still warm and remember to leave at least 1 cm of headroom at the top when filling them. Place the lids on the jars (make sure you do not leave any food stain on the jar rims) and once all jars are closed you need to replace them back in the pot with the warm water that you initially used to boil the glass (again make sure the water is not boiling and the jars are still warm).

Ensure the sealed jars do not touch the bottom of the pot so use anything that you have at home to help you with this (I have used a metal rack that fits the pot). Once the jars are in bring back the water to the boil for 10 minutes.

Remove them from the water, place them upside-down in a cloth and wait for 12 hours at least before turning them back. Keeping the jars upside-down will ensure the jars are properly sealed (check the lids: they should be slightly indented and should not “click”)

Once the jars are completely cool place a sticker and a ribbon and you now have an handmade Christmas present to give away! You can use many different ingredients for your sauce but make sure you write them in the sticker in case of any allergies.

The sauce in a nice jar


One of the most common Italian sauces.

What you need:

  • 50 g unsalted butter
  • 2 tbs whit flour
  • 250 ml skimmed milk
  • black pepper/nutmeg

How to make it:

Warm the butter in a sauce pan over a medium heat and when completely melted add the flour. Whisk well to combine the ingredients. Gently start adding the milk to the mixture: add a cup at time and while doing it continue to whisk. If you don’t do it, the ingredients won’t combine well. Add little by little all the milk and keep cooking for at least 10 mins.


TIP: If you prefer a more liquid result, don’t cook it for more then 5 mins after you have added all the milk. You can add some black pepper or nutmeg at the end, if you like.

Ragú alla Bolognese

Today’s recipe is about one of the most famous pasta sauce: the Ragù (or Bolognese sauce!). This is probably the most known recipe among all the Italian food so I decided to share with you the most original version, the one with milk and stock! This is how they cook it in Bologna, the city where the sauce takes its name from.

What you need:

  • 2 chopped carrots
  • 2 chopped celery
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 400 g of minced beef
  • 150 g Italian pancetta
  • 200 g (or 2 cans) of chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée
  • 1 glass of white wine
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 2 tbs extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 glass of milk
  • 1/2 glass of stock (vegetable stock)

How to make it:

The first step is to cook the Italian pancetta in a low heat with no or little oil . While the cubes are cooking finely chop the carrots, the onion and the celery. Add them to the pan and cook until brown. Add the meat and stir well: when the meat starts sizzling add the wine. You can now add the tomato purée, stir well and then incorporate the chopped tomato.

Stir all the ingredients well, decrease the heat to the minimum and cook the ragù for around 1h30 . If you notice the sauce it’s too dry you need to add the stock.

Add the milk and incorporate it well to the sauce: this is a trick that will help reduce the acidity of the tomatoes sauce and it is what the original recipe for the ragù says.

Cook the sauce for another 30 minutes, adjust in salt and pepper and your bolognese is ready!



  1. you can use bacon instead of Italian pancetta;
  2. no need to add oil while you are cooking the pancetta as it will release its own fat;
  3. for more flavour you can add sage and rosemary leaves with the vegetable;
  4. do not add Parmesan cheese while preparing the sauce: this can be added to the final dish (i.e. with pasta) but the original recipe does not include cheese;
  5. the best pasta shape to enjoy this sauce is tagliatelle but it can fit any type of pasta. Bolognese it is also perfect to fill tacos or simply - with ciabatta bread.