Somehow, I woke up with a massive yen for something spicy on New Year’s Day. And eggs. And a bit of chilli zing was just what I needed after slight martini head (only slight, due to inevitable 7am wake up, obviously). So I made a spicy tomato sauce, which is one of those very-little-effort-to-a-high-yield-of-deliciousness dishes, and we cracked eggs into it; a sort of poor man’s version of huevos rancheros.
The secret to a good tomato sauce (I discovered when I did a cooking afternoon at the Cucina Caldesi a few years ago) is lashings – and I really do mean lashings; glugs more than you’d ever even consider normally – of extra virgin olive oil. Also, if you put your garlic cloves in whole – slightly crushed with the back of a knife – it flavours, without over powering. You can add your chilli to taste and, obviously, you don’t have to add eggs, but it’s a really great one pot supper if you do (and also stops you from asking, “But where is the pasta?”).
Tomato sauce (from Giancarlo Caldesi)
Red onion, finely chopped
About 6 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, peeled and whole
1 chilli, de-seeded and finely chopped
chilli flakes (if you like it really spicy)
2 tins of tomatoes
salt and pepper
200 ml warm veg stock or water
Fry the onion for about 5 minutes until it’s soft. Add the garlic and chilli and cook for another minute making sure you don’t burn the garlic. Add the salt and pepper and tomatoes (bash them with a wooden spoon to break them up a bit) and then the stock (which makes sure that the sauce doesn’t catch on the pan and burn). Add the oil and turn down the heat to a simmer and cook for about 40 minutes.
You can eat straight away but it also keeps for at least a week, so you can heat it up when you need it, and if you want to add eggs, wait until it’s hot; make a dip for each egg and put a lid on the top so they cook on top too (or you could put them under a grill if you are slightly phobic about uncooked albumen, as I am). I served it with grated cheese on top and a green salad but slightly wished I’d made some really limey guacamole too.