(serves 6)

The late Peter Daldin of Otaki gave me this, his family recipe for pasta with tomato sauce. Fusilli is spiral-shaped pasta designed to nurture sauce. I like a dried version by Garofalo and it is available from La Bella Italia, Italian specialty store in Petone. Take advantage of tomatoes in season to serve this simple but utterly delicious pasta dish. Make extra sauce to freeze for winter.


2kg (18) ripe but firm tomatoes (meaty tomatoes are required)
3 tsp flaky sea salt
30ml (2 tbsp) extra virgin olive oil
20g (2 tbsp) butter
20g (2) shallots (finely chopped)
2 garlic cloves (finely chopped)

1/2 dried red chilli (deseeded and finely chopped)
1 small sprig rosemary
1 sprig sage
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
12 basil leaves (sliced)
600g fusilli
small wedge Parmigiano-Reggiano


  • Place tomatoes in a pot with water to cover, set over a medium high heat, cover and bring to the boil. Reduce heat, place lid slightly ajar and simmer for 15 minutes.
  • Drain tomatoes and discard water.
  • Return tomatoes to the pot with 1 cup of water and 2 tsp of the salt measurement. Cover, place over a medium heat and bring to the boil. Strain again and discard the water. If you have a mouli put tomatoes through mouli, discard skin and seeds and set pulp aside. If not, simply peel and deseed the tomatoes.
  • Place oil and butter into a medium-sized pot set over a medium heat and add shallots, garlic and chilli. Cook for 2-3 minutes till soft but not brown.
  • Tie rosemary and sage sprigs together. Place rosemary, sage and tomatoes with remainder of salt and pepper into pot containing softened shallots and garlic.
  • Place a lid partially on the pot and, over medium heat, bring to the boil. Remove lid, turn heat down and simmer sauce for 1 hour or till it is thick enough that it will coat pasta, stirring occasionally to ensure the sauce does not stick to the base of the pot. A simmer mat would be useful. Remove rosemary and sage. Add basil and taste for seasoning.
  • When ready to eat bring a large pot of salted water to the boil and add fusilli. Bring back to the boil and cook, stirring occasionally, till fusilli is al dente. The pasta packet will have the cooking time on it.
  • Drain pasta, leaving a little water on it so it looks moist, then toss Peter’s Tomato Sauce on fusilli and gently toss together. The sauce should cling to and coat the fusilli rather than the fusilli sitting in a pool of sauce.
  • Let guests grate their own Parmigiano-Reggiano onto their pasta.