Spicy Tomato Sauce

This is a good general-purpose tomato sauce, made by the simple expedient of cooking good-quality tinned tomatoes with, in this case, garlic and chilli. Other flavourings, say oregano or basil, could easily be substituted. The addition of some sautéed diced pancetta would give you a matriciana sauce, one of the nicest of the traditional pasta sauces, and a stand-by in many Soho Italian gaffs.


  • 1 × 500 g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 small dried red chillies, finely chopped
  • 5 tbsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper


Place the tomatoes with their juices in a saucepan, and add the garlic, chillies and oil. Cook on a medium flame until reduced by about 25 per cent. Add salt and pepper.