Spinach tagliatelle in a red wine tomato sauce

Spinach tagliatelle in a red wine tomato sauce


1 person made this

About this recipe: Less is definitely more with this robustly flavoured, low-fat pasta sauce that just lightly coats the pasta in traditional Italian style. This 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 and fruit to follow.

Norma MacMillan

Serves: 6 

  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large garlic clove, crushed
  • 4 shallots, finely chopped
  • 1 can chopped tomatoes, about 400g
  • 240 ml (8 fl oz) red wine
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
  • 2 strips of lemon zest
  • ½ tsp sugar
  • 400 g (14 oz) spinach tagliatelle
  • 2 tbsp single cream (optional)
  • salt and pepper
  • To garnish
  • 30g (1 oz) stoned black olives, quartered
  • fresh basil leaves, torn
  • 4 tbsp freshly grated Parmesan cheese (optional)

Prep:15min  ›  Cook:1hr  ›  Ready in:1hr15min 

  1. Heat the olive 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Add the cream to the sauce, if using, with seasoning to taste. Stir in the noodles 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.
  6. Transfer the noodles to a serving dish. Sprinkle with the olives, basil and Parmesan, if using, and serve.

Parmesan cheese

Parmesan cheese is not truly vegetarian, as it contains animal rennet. To make this dish 100% vegetarian, omit the cheese or find a suitable vegetarian substitute made without animal rennet. In supermarkets look for the 'parmesan style hard cheeses' which are suitable for vegetarians.

Some more ideas

Make Italian-style vongole or clam sauce by adding 1 can clams, about 300 g, well drained, to the sauce at the end of step 3. Use sprigs of fresh parsley instead of rosemary. The clams, a good low-fat source of iron, should not be boiled or they will become tough, so simmer the sauce very gently while you cook the pasta. * Boost the dietary fibre by using wholemeal tagliatelle or other noodles. * For a more substantial sauce, without increasing the fat, add fresh vegetables cut into bite-sized pieces in step 3 and simmer until they are just tender but still crisp.

Plus points

Lycopene, the natural pigment that gives tomatoes their colour, can reduce the risk of heart disease and prostate cancer. A 6-year study at Harvard medical school found that eating tomato products more than twice a week was associated with a reduced risk of prostate cancer of up to 34%. Processed tomatoes (canned or tomato purée) contain higher concentrations of lycopene than fresh tomatoes.

Each serving provides

A, calcium * C, E, niacin, copper

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