I bought my favourite herb, basil, to go with it. I had visions of chopping the basil and adding it at the end. Then I suddenly remembered the bottles of imported tomato pesto sauce that I had seen at shops. I thought I will give it a shot myself.
So this is how I made my tomato pesto sauce. I took 200 ml of tomato puree (wasn't sure of the consistency of fresh tomatoes), a handful of basil leaves, a teaspoon each of sugar and crushed black pepper, about 8-10 cloves of peeled garlic, a tablespoon of salt. I put all of this into a small mixer and switched on the button
I forgot to shut the lid of the mixer properly! Suddenly the kitchen looked like a set from Kill Bill. Our blue walls were red. As was the white door. And the brown tiles by the sink. The coffee mugs hanging there. There was puree splattered on my tee shirt. Pyjamas. And all over my arms!
I quickly got to work with a cloth duster and paper tissues. Thank God for washable paints. Our walls and door were soon back to normal. And I had to do a change of clothes in between making the dish.
The sauce turned out to be pretty good. Though a bit dry as some of the puree was now in outer space.
I made the pasta in a Bolougnaise meat sauce theme. Here's the recipe.
Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a non stick pan.
Add 250 g of chicken mince (healthier than pork or beef apparently) and fry it. Water will came out of the meat. Let it dry on a high flame.
The meat will be be cooked by the time the water dries.
Add in the tomato pesto to the meat and stir.
Add preboiled pasta to the meat. Stir till the sauce seeps into the pasta. I had some very nice Australian cheddar at home. I broke 100 g of this into little pieces and added it at the end. Another minute or so and the pasta was ready.
I normally add regular cheese to the sauce at the beginning. However, if the cheese is special then I add it at the end so that you can get a bite of the cheese.
You could even substitute the mince for boneless chicken, chopped cold cuts or do a vegetarian version with mushrooms, baby corn, tofu, etc.
This is a slightly dry dish and it makes sense to drizzle a bit of extra virgin olive oil at the end. If you want your sauce to be more liquidy then try adding half a cup of water when you add the sauce mix. Or a bit of fresh cream perhaps.
The imported tomato pesto bottles in shops cost Rs 150 (3 USD) or so. Here the puree was Rs 15, basil Rs 10, garlic perhaps Rs 2 or so. All of Rs 30 (less than a USD) and pretty fresh too.
Kill Bill photo credit: http://www.siue.edu/~ejoy/Kill-Bill-0023.jpg That's not me in the photo though.