Third World Baker

I live in India and I love baking. This for me is a process riddled with substitutions and inventions. This is how I make things still taste great. (Now featuring non baked food as well, as the mood strikes.)

In which I give the blog over to my best friend.

When I first met Arijita she wasn’t sure how to boil water. However times have changed and she is now a quite competent cook. This is the first thing she cooked for me, and it was so spectacular I asked her if she would make a post on this blog about it. So here it is. 

I’d like to begin by saying that I am not in fact a cook. My association with cooking-baking-turning –raw-ingredients-into-mouth-watering-things-by sheer-awesomeness-what-have-you has been confined to the realm of eating, until recently. Inexperienced is the word I’m looking for. This recipe however, is so simple and so easy that literally anyone can do it. It’s for poor people who have no cooking-skills whatsoever, but want to have delicious mouth-watering pasta sauce ready whenever. This sauce has been talked about in many exalted circles of cooking-bloggery for its simplicity and depth and both qualities were apparent from the first taste. So without further ado (always wanted to say that) here is the recipe for Tomato-Butter-Onion pasta sauce:

Best tomato sauce


Tomatoes, nice red ripe ones – 1Kg

Butter, we used a stick so about 125gms

A large Onion

Basil –dried  2 tsp (if you have fresh then about a handful)

250 g grated parmesan

Pasta (as much as you want to eat)


You need to blanch and peel the tomatoes and chop them up coarsely. I found out to my chagrin that peeling tomatoes without preparing them can be a frustrating and humiliating procedure. So the thing to do is take a couple in a strainer and dip them in boiling water for about 25 seconds (you can count in your head), then immediately put them in a pot of ice-water. Cut a light slit along the equator of each tomato and the skin comes off almost by itself.  Then take all the tomatoes in a big bowl and squish them all into a sort of handmade puree.

Also peel and cut the large (the larger the better really) onion in half along its equator.


Take a heavy-bottomed pot, turmn the heat on medium and melt the butter. When its all liquid, put in the onion halves cut-side down. Then put in the squished tomatoes around the sizzling onion halves and wait for it to boil. Once it is boiling, turn down the heat so that there are only a couple of bubbles intermittently and leave it to cook uncovered for about 30 minutes.

At the 30 minute mark, stir the sauce around a bit and squish the tomatoes against the sides of the pot. Add salt and pepper to taste. Leave it on the heat for another 10 minutes or so. Turn off the heat and add the basil, be it dried or fresh.

Boil the pasta according to instructions. I usually let a pot of water come to a boil (with a little salt added in) and once it is boiling I add the pasta and cook for exactly 10 minutes. This will be al dente.

To assemble, spoon a couple of ladlefuls of sauce on the pasta and stir to incorporate. Then add one more ladle on top and sprinkle with cheese.

Feeds 4. 

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