Gradely Scran

Because life's too short to stuff a mushroom.



Gradely Scran

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Utterly simple tomato sauce

Time: 45 mins

Servings: 2


  • 1 x 400g tin of plum tomatoes
  • 1 onion, chopped small
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped small
  • olive oil or butter (the taste will be very different, depending on which you use)
  • bay leaf
  • salt


  1. Sauté the onion in the olive oil for about five minutes, until it’s starting to soften.
  2. Add the tinned tomatoes, breaking them up with your wooden spoon if they’re whole, with the bay leaf, the garlic and a little salt.
  3. Bring to a simmer, turn the heat down low and cook, uncovered, for 40 minutes or so, until it’s turned into a thick mush and tastes rich and delicious.
  4. Serve over pasta with freshly grated parmesan cheese.

I thought I’d taken this recipe from Marcella Hazan’s The Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking, but when I looked in my book I couldn’t find it. I have definitely taken the method from her, though: cooking slowly with the lid off. As she says so sternly, “Never cook a sauce in a covered pan, or it will emerge with a bland, steamed, weakly formulated taste.” She’s right, too.