Classic Tomato Pasta with Fried Parsley and Chilli

This is another dish that reminds me of my childhood. A classic plain tomato sauce on some al dente penne, perfect. This was a regular in our house growing up and my mum makes the best pasta sauce.

One day we were eating at a cafe in Manly and my sister, all of 5 years old, ordered a tomato pasta which came with fried chilli and parsley. When the food arrived we all got a little caught up in our own meals, as this family does, the world could end but if we are eating we wouldn’t know it. By the time we remembered we were going to scrape off the fried chilli, Liz had eaten half the bowl. Musn’t be too hot then we assumed, then dad tried a mouthful and couldn’t believe this little podgy faced toddler was eating it. It was hot!

So even though it was hot and mum and dad had trained us well, to eat ANYTHING, we thought how genius it was to fry up a bit of parsley and chilli and take a plain dish to another level. So ever since, our plain tomato pasta has been topped with crispy fried chilli and parsley, hope yours will too.

Serves 4

1 onion, finely diced
1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
4 large ripe tomatoes, chopped
1 can of diced Italian tomatoes
1/2 tsp raw sugar
1/2 tsp salt
Cracked black pepper
Olive oil
1 bunch curly parsley, chopped (has to be curly, not flat leaf)
Chilli, finely chopped (can use hot or mild chilli, and as many as you want depending on your taste)
400g penne pasta

To start your pasta sauce, on a medium heat, sauté onions and garlic in a little olive oil. Cook until transulcent, do not brown. Then add your fresh diced tomatoes, canned tomatoes, salt, pepper and sugar. Simmer on low heat until the tomatoes break down, about 15 minutes.

Cook your pasta in salted boiling water according to the instructions. Just to al dente though, don’t overcook!

To fry your chilli and parsley, add a couple of tablespoons of olive oil to a hot fry pan, add the parsley and chilli and stir fry until dry and crispy, about 5 minutes. Set aside to drain on paper towel.

Once the pasta is on, check your sauce, if everything has started to break down, you can either leave it like this or, use my signature move, the ‘part whaz’. I do this to just about anything I can stick a Bamix in. This means just pureeing a bit of the sauce. In this case, just stick a stick mixer into the sauce and pulse it for a few seconds, or until you are happy with the consistency. You might even be a full whaz kinda person, and that’s fine. Once blended, check seasoning, it may need more salt or sugar.

To serve you can either toss the pasta through the sauce or serve it on top and finish with the fried parsley and chilli. Yum.

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