Otherwise known as provencale sauce. Enjoyed by vegetarians and carnivores alike, this sauce is robust and spicy and is ideal with long or short pasta. I often pair it with gnocchi. It improves overnight as the rich flavours intermingle.
Set a heavy pan on the slowest of flames. Throw in a couple of dozen halved walnuts, the same number of halved and pitted black olives, a chopped onion, a chopped red pepper, a dozen quartered button mushrooms, half a cup of peas, a chopped red or green chili pepper and a scored clove of garlic. The idea is to give the walnuts a head start on a slight toastiness and then let everything start to sweat before adding fluid.
Now add either a jar of passata or a couple of 425g cans of diced tomatoes, a tablespoonful of pesto and a cup of water. I always rinse the water through the tomato jar or cans to use up every last bit.
Now give it a good turn with a wooden spoon, bring it to a simmer and leave the sauce bubbling slowly for half an hour. Chill and refrigerate overnight; return to a simmer, cook pasta, spoon sauce over pasta and sprinkle parmesan over.