If you ever happen to find yourself in a town called Ouranoupolis in Halkidiki, a peninsula in northern Greece (“there all the time, sure”), whatever you do: go to Kritikos restaurant.
Even in low season, it’s packed to the rafters and buzzing – Ouranoupolis is pretty much in the middle of nowhere so obviously Greek people actually commute to this restaurant. Its seafood dishes are the best: super-fresh, light, loads of it. And its linguini pasta is a bowl of silky ribbons of deliciousness.
There are a lot of celeb ingredients in those pasta dishes, but the ultimate star is the sauce: it’s got amazing depth; it’s tomato-y, garlicky, buttery, oniony, oh gaaaard it’s just all-round taste bud-tinglingly lovely and it makes me sad to think I can’t just pop there after work one night this week. Chances are you’re probably not going to end up there either (sob).
Fortunately, I happened upon a recipe for a tomato pasta sauce on Smitten Kitchen that by all accounts was the “ultimate tomato sauce”. It sounded like this sauce could get somewhere close to the amazingness of the sauce on offer at Kritikos. And it had just THREE ingredients. THREE! Tomatoes, butter and onion.
Here is what you need to serve 4:
2 cans of good quality Italian tomatoes (or whichever good quality toms you can get, regardless of nationality)
70 grams of butter (SK suggests unsalted but I used salted and it was fine)
One yellow onion chopped in half
And here is what you should add if you want to go a little off-script, like I did:
2-3 cloves of crushed garlic
And here’s what you do:
Put tomatoes, onion and butter in saucepan over medium heat (If you’re using garlic, fry it over low heat in drop of olive oil first, then add the toms, onion and butter and turn up to a medium heat).
Bring sauce to a simmer then lower heat, pop a lid on, and keep on a steady simmer for about 45 minutes — SK suggests looking for droplets of fat from butter to float free of the tomatoes.
Stir occasionally and mash the tomatoes against the side of the pan with a wooden spoon so it’s nice and smoove.
When the 45 mins is up, remove sauce from heat, chuck away the onion, and add S&P to taste.
Add to to pasta straight away or warm up sauce again when you’re ready to cook your pasta.
As you can see from the pics above, I had prawns with my tomato sauce and linguini – I was trying to keep the Greek seafood dream alive. I had the heating on, was wrapped in a duvet and watching The Great British Bake-Off at the time of eating, but still, for a moment there I was in a light, white and airy seafood restaurant on a peninsula in northern Greece, the sea breeze blowing in my hair and the sun freckling up my shoulders. I think I even got a mozzie bite.
Tomato Pasta Sauce Perfection Stats
Kitchen cock-ups: Even I couldn’t cock this one up.
Listened to: The xx’s new album again.
P.s You can actually make this pasta sauce any night of the week.