A chef’s secret sauce to get kids to eat

Daily Dish: Barry Fitzgerald's go-to store cupboard meal is ridiculously easy but absolutely delicious

Spaghetti with red sauce is a family favourite in the Fitzgerald household

Spaghetti with red sauce is a family favourite in the Fitzgerald household

 

My go-to store cupboard meal is ridiculously easy but absolutely delicious. In my house we call it spaghetti with red sauce, so that the kids will eat it.

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November is Food Month in The Irish Times. irishtimes.com/foodmonth

The dish is based on a recipe from the Frankie Spuntino cookbook. It’s a really slow-stewed tomato sauce, they call it The Sunday Gravy, which is loaded with garlic, has a hint of chilli and can bubble away for a few hours while you get on with your life.

It is an ideal meal to make for a day at home catching up on other things and not slaving away in the kitchen for too long.

Using plenty of olive oil and gently browning the garlic over 10 to 15 minutes is essential to the recipe’s success. Also, don’t use tinned chopped tomatoes. Hand-crushing plum tomatoes yourself is far superior.

What you’ll need:

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Serves 4

50g extra virgin olive oil
800g (2 small tins) of organic peeled plum tomatoes
A pinch of dried chilli flakes
1 whole head of fresh garlic
Salt and pepper to taste
I pack of dried spaghetti
100g Parmesan

How to make it:

1. Peel the garlic but leave the cloves whole.

2. Empty the tomatoes into a bowl and crush them with your hands.

3. Warm the olive oil in a saucepan, add the garlic and cook on a super-gentle heat until the garlic is nicely browned all over.This should take 10-15 minutes. Be very careful not to burn it. Add a pinch of dried chilli flakes and cook for another 30 seconds, then add the tomatoes. Be careful as it tends to spit at this point.

4. Season with Maldon salt and freshly ground pepper, bring to a simmer, reduce the heat to the lowest setting and cook for a good two hours, or until the sauce is reduced to a nice thick consistency. At this point you can crush the soft garlic with the back of a wooden spoon.

5. Serve with al dente boiled spaghetti, grated Parmesan cheese and a green salad. Whether you mix the spaghetti and red sauce together in the pan before serving is debatable among the diners in my house, so do what you wish!

Barry Fitzgerald is chef proprietor of Bastible, 111 South Circular Road, Dublin 8, bastible.com

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