Less is definitely more with this robustly flavoured, low–fat pasta sauce that just lightly coats the pasta in traditional Italian style. The tagliatelle makes a satisfying carbohydrate–packed starter that will serve 6 before a light main course, or a simple meal for 4 with a crunchy salad to follow.
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 large clove garlic, crushed
4 French shallots, finely chopped
1 can chopped tomatoes, about 400 g
1 cup (250 ml) red wine
1 bay leaf
2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
2 strips of lemon zest
½ teaspoon sugar
400 g spinach tagliatelle
2 tablespoons pouring cream (optional)
salt and pepper
¼ cup (30 g) pitted black olives, quartered
fresh basil leaves, torn
⅓ cup (35 g) freshly grated parmesan (optional)
Heat the oil in a large heavy–based saucepan over a moderate heat.
Add the garlic and shallots, and cook for about 3 minutes, stirring frequently, until the shallots are soft.
Stir in the tomatoes with their juice, the wine, bay leaf, rosemary, lemon zest and sugar.
Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and partially cover the pan.
Simmer for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is reduced and thick, with only a small amount of liquid on the surface.
Allow to cool for a few minutes, then discard the bay leaf and rosemary.
Purée the sauce, including the lemon zest, in a blender or food processor.
Press the sauce through a fine sieve into the rinsed–out saucepan.
Bring back to the boil, then leave to simmer very gently while you cook the pasta.
Cook the pasta in boiling water for 10–12 minutes, or according to the packet instructions, until al dente.
Drain, reserving a few spoonfuls of the cooking liquid.
Add the cream to the sauce, if using, with seasoning to taste.
Stir in the pasta until they are all coated with the sauce.
If the sauce is too thick to coat the pasta, thin it with the reserved cooking liquid.
Transfer the pasta to a serving dish.
Sprinkle with the olives, basil and parmesan, if using, and serve.
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