A Cook's Plot

Side Dishes & Canapes

Extra-Special Tomato Sauce

A tomato sauce to serve with pasta is such a useful recipe to have to hand for a quick weeknight meal, and this one is even more tasty than most thanks to two key ingredients: smoked paprika and anchovies. You can leave out the latter if you’d like it be vegetarian, it will still be delicious. But if you put them in, don’t worry that the sauce will taste fishy - they just dissolve once they’re heated and add a really lovely subtle extra layer of flavour.


Serves 2

  • 1 leek
  • 1.5 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 red pepper
  • 5 mushrooms
  • half a red chilli, deseeded
  • 400g can tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp soft light brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp sherry (or red wine) vinegar
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 3 anchovies (from a can or jar)


Finely slice the leek and fry gently in olive oil with the smoked paprika for about 5 mins, until tender. Add the garlic and mushrooms and fry for another minute. Chop the pepper and the chilli and add to the pan with the canned tomatoes, sugar, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, oregano and plenty of seasoning. Simmer for 10 mins then add the anchovies and cook for another 2 to 3 mins until they have dissolved into the sauce. Serve with pasta, a little basil (and some grated parmesan too, if you like).

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