With the beautiful sunshine this weekend, I felt inspired to bring you a little flavour of Italy with this recipe for a simple tomato pasta. I use brown rice pasta instead of regular pasta. Brown rice pasta is made from ground brown rice instead of wheat making it a nutritious alternative to regular white pasta. At first the taste is noticeably different and it takes a little getting used to. However, by making delicious and flavoursome sauces to accompany the pasta, the difference in taste is soon forgotten.
I like this sauce because it contains generous amounts of tomatoes as well as carrots, celery, onion and garlic. Tomatoes are a good source of vitamin C and contain the powerful antioxidant lycopene. They are so versatile and can be used in Italian cooking as I have done here, in salads, in curries, added to guacamole, to make homemade baked beans for breakfast, in Mexican style dishes, the list goes on.
I usually make a basil oil to go with this sauce. It is so good and really handy to have in the fridge as it can be used with other dishes too – maybe as a dip for a mezze style supper, drizzled on sourdough bread or as a salad dressing.
For the pasta
2 ½ cups of brown rice pasta
1 medium sized onion
1 stalk of celery
3 cloves of garlic (minced)
250g cherry tomatoes (quartered)
2 tablespoons of tomato puree
4 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar
400g tin of plum or chopped tomatoes
Salt and pepper
For the basil oil
1 cup of fresh basil
½ cup of extra virgin olive oil
Juice of ½ lemon
Salt and pepper
Finely chop the onion, celery and carrot.
Melt ½ tablespoon of coconut oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat.
Add the onion, carrot and celery and 2 teaspoons of water to the saucepan and cook over a low heat for about 10 minutes, adding the garlic after about five minutes. Stir regularly.
Next add the cherry tomatoes and allow to cook for about five minutes.
Then add the tin of tomatoes, the tomato puree and apple cider vinegar and bring to a simmer. Allow to simmer gently for about 10 minutes.
Meanwhile cook the brown rice pasta in boiling water and drain it when done.
Prepare the basil oil by putting the basil, oil, lemon juice and some salt and pepper in a blender and blending together. If you prefer a more oily consistency, just add in some extra olive oil.
When the pasta sauce is done, season with salt and pepper and toss in the cooked brown rice pasta.
Plate up and drizzle with basil oil and sprinkle some nutritional yeast over.
This serves about 4
Remember you won’t use all of the basil oil, so keep the rest in a sealed container in the fridge to use as a salad dressing or as a dip for bread (of the healthier variety). Sometimes, I add a little more oil to what's left over as I prefer my salad dressings a little more oily.