By Marcia Barrington
There is nothing more comforting than a caramelised, jammy tomato sauce
Alongside aged Parmesan it becomes a sweet and salty union like no other. For this recipe, all that’s required is to roast the tomatoes, vegetables, garlic and olive oil. Pair with a little golden brown chicken and bake together with a fluffy yet generous covering of freshly grated Parmesan. And after the warm balmy days of summer, cooking slowly in the oven can be enjoyed again.
1 x 400g tin of good quality tomatoes 1 medium sized onion, roughly chopped
2 sticks celery roughly chopped (preferably organic)
2 large or 3 medium sized cloves of garlic, peeled
100 ml olive oil to bake the sauce
1 bay leaf
4 chicken breasts with skin (170/190g each)
60 ml olive oil to sauté the chicken Sea salt and black pepper
80 g freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Preheat the oven to 140°C/285°F.
In an ovenproof dish add the onion, celery, garlic, tinned tomatoes, 100ml olive oil and the bay leaf. Season with sea salt and a little freshly ground black pepper and stir together well.
Cover the dish with foil and pop into the oven for 90 minutes. As you approach the end of the cooking time put the grill on. Remove the foil; discard the bay leaf and grill the sauce for 10 minutes to char the edges of the vegetables. Remove from grill. Allow the sauce to cool slightly, and then transfer to a mixing bowl or jug (tall enough so you don’t splash yourself or the kitchen walls!) and blitz to a smooth consistency with a hand blender.
Increase the oven temperature to 180°C/350°F and season the chicken breasts with a little sea salt. Heat a frying pan to medium then add the 60 ml olive oil. Swirl the oil around the pan, add the chicken skin side down and cook until golden. This will take around 5 minutes. Turn the chicken over and seal the underside for a minute or two.
Transfer the chicken breasts (skin side up) to an ovenproof dish. Cover with the tomato sauce and freshly grated Parmesan and cook in the oven for 25/30 minutes or until completely cooked through.
Do Ahead Tip: The sauce can be stored in the fridge for up to 5 days.