I’m really struggling with the weather at the moment, and all the jokes about a Swedish person being used to the cold are so getting old. Fact is, I am not. In fact, most Swedish people (at least from my end of the country) hate the cold. And even though the winters are long and cold, the well-insulated houses help a lot!
Anyway, those cold windy days when life feels utterly miserable there are a few things that could cheer you up. Friends, wine and food. All three together is of course the best combination, but any of the three on its own can help too.
One evening when I actually had planned to make potato gnocchi but ran out of steam after walking home in the freezing wind from the tube, I settled for what I would have served my gnocchis with; a creamy, warming tomato sauce.
We all know that a great flavour combination is tomato and basil, but with sub-zero temperatures outside that felt way too summery. Instead I opted for another herb that feels just as Italian – sage.
I see this as my winter version of tomato sauce. And that splash of cream feels necessary to fight the cold too.
Creamy tomato sauce with sage, serves 3-4
1 tin (ca 400 g) good quality chopped tomatoes
1/2 tin water
ca 3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp soft brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp dried sage (or about 1 tbsp fresh, chopped)
1/2 tsp each of oregano, rosemary and lovage
1/2 tsp chilli flakes
1 garlic clove, grated
salt, black pepper
50 ml single cream
Pour tomatoes and water in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Let it reduce and thicken. Add vinegar, herbs, garlic and sugar. Cook until it feels thick enough. Add the cream. Season to taste with salt, sugar and black pepper.
Serve with spaghetti and plenty of grated Parmesan or Pecorino.