pasta sauce

Amy Chaplin’s easy pine nut sauce

11th April 2020

Don’t be deceived by the unassuming appearance of this sauce, it is delicious! I have replaced our weekly pesto sauce with this one.  It is quick, easy and any leftovers make a delicious salad dressing. Serve with homemade pasta, skillet roasted tomatoes and steamed greens.

~ sunlight and water drops~

easy pine nut sauce

Recipe from ‘Whole Food Cooking Every Day’ by Amy Chaplin.

Makes 1 cup. 

Serves 3 – 4


1 cup/120g raw pine nuts

6 Tbsp/65g olive oil

2 Tbsp/25g freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 tsp fine rock salt

to serve

½-portion homemade pasta

skillet charred tomato (see below)

steamed or sauteed greens

grated parmesan or pine nut parmesan


1.  Warm a skillet over medium heat for 2 minutes. Toss in the pine nuts, reduce heat to low, and toast, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes, or until fragrant and golden.

2.  Transfer to a mortar and pestle or mini food processor and add the olive oil, lemon juice, and salt.

3.  Use a pestle to crush the nuts and grind until a paste forms. Or, if you’re using a mini food processor, blend until smooth, scrape down the sides, and blend again.  Use immediately, or store the sauce in a glass jar in the fridge for up to a week. Optional to garnish with lemon zest.


  • Any leftovers can be used as a salad dressing the next day. When using as a salad dressing add a little honey and dilute with more olive oil and lemon.

to serve

skillet charred cherry tomatoes

Serves 2

Preparation 7 minutes


2 Tbsp olive or peanut oil

350g small cherry tomatoes

1 red bell pepper/135g, roughly chopped (optional)

One 5-cm sprig rosemary – leaves removed

½ tsp red chilli pepper flakes


1.   Place a medium skillet or wok over high heat, add oil, whole cherry tomatoes, bell pepper, and rosemary leaves, toss to coat in the oil. It is important to use a larger skillet to allow space for the tomatoes to cook without losing their shape. Don’t overcrowd the pan.

2.  Sautee for 5 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds, until charred in parts – don’t cook for too long, otherwise, the tomatoes will turn mushy.

3.  Remove from heat, stir in salt and chilli flakes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Serve with your favourite pasta!

cherry tomato sauce

5th July 2011


As promised in Stacey’s last post, I have finally finished this ‘Cherry Tomato Sauce’ post.  (Thanks for the pics, Stace).

Ever since sampling the ‘real’ pizzas in Italy a few years ago and hunting down the ‘authentic’ ones here, I have been experimenting with a sauce that replicates the simple version they use.  This is as close as I can get it at the moment. I have discovered that to achieve that ‘real’ tomatoey taste, frying off the tomatoes in hot olive oil, so they caramelise, and a long-simmering and resting time is a must.

After reading Stacey’s ‘Lasagne with a Creamy Basil Sauce’ post, it reminded me of that lasagne I sampled many a time at her place, so I was inspired to make it myself, using this sauce as the base. I did not have any cream, so I substituted yoghurt instead which worked quite well.  Next time, I’ll try ricotta instead of the cream.  A very tasty lasagne, perfect for Winter and perfect for left-overs, which seems to be my eating habits at the moment.

My other favourite uses for this sauce are: tossed through spaghetti and a generous helping of shaved parmesan and fresh, torn basil leaves; or as a pizza sauce on wholemeal Lebanese bread with bocconcini and mozzarella cheese and fresh basil leaves.  Very simple, and a quick, tasty snack.

cherry tomato sauce

ingredients :

1 large punnet/700g cherry tomatoes

2 Tbsp good quality olive oil

2 – 3 sprigs fresh oregano

3 – 4 sprigs fresh thyme

1 – 2 tsp sea salt flakes

fresh, cracked black pepper

50g tomato paste (approx. 2 heaped tab.)

approx. ¼ cup water (enough to ensure a sauce consistency)

1 Tbsp raw sugar


1.  Heat olive oil in a large heavy-based saucepan (should be hot enough so that herbs sizzle when added), add whole herb sprigs (no need to chop) and toss in the hot oil so that the flavour infuses and herbs turn bright green.

2.  Add whole cherry tomatoes (yes, no need to chop), toss so that all are coated in oil and add salt and plenty of pepper.  Leave to sizzle on medium heat for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

3.  Mix in tomato paste and sugar.  Reduce heat to a simmer, cover and let stew away for about 1 hour.

4.  Turn off heat.  Taste and adjust seasoning (sugar, salt and pepper).  Use as-is, without straining or mashing (some tomatoes should still be somewhat whole), or if prefer a smoother sauce, strain so that seeds and skins are removed.  I prefer the unstrained version as the chunks are quite tasty.

Serve immediately with a dish of choice (pasta or as a pizza sauce), or if using later, let sit covered at room temperature.  Freezes well in airtight containers.


Goodness shared by Donna

pesto pasta with roasted baby vegetables

18th November 2009

My veggie garden has become ‘weeded’ all of a sudden.  When it rains, the plants thrive, however so do those weeds, and even though I intend to hit them at their first sighting, within a few days of neglect, a ‘carpet’ appears.  This unpleasant sight greeted me when I headed out to pull up some baby beetroot, slice off some baby zucchini and squash for the pasta dish I had in mind.  I had decided to use the dill and parsley pesto I made last weekend, mixed with my favourite labne and tossed through roasted baby vegetables from the garden.  Confronted with the ‘unwanted carpet’, I knew this was going to take some time, so I made a feeble attempt of pulling out some of the weeds, but my heart wasn’t in it…..tomorrow I would face it.  My pasta awaits!


dill & parsley pesto pasta with roasted baby vegetables


500g pumpkin, peeled and roughly diced

2 – 3 baby zucchini, whole

2 – 3 baby crookneck squash, whole (or similar)

2 baby beetroot, cut in quarters

6 cherry Roma tomatoes, whole

olive oil

sea salt flakes and cracked black pepper

spaghetti (or a favourite gluten-free pasta)

3 Tbsp dill and parsley pesto (or favourite pesto)

2 Tbsp labne


1.  Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius.  Line flat baking tray with baking paper.

2.  Toss all vegetables in a bowl, add a generous dash of olive oil.

3.  Spread in one layer on baking tray and roast until tender (about 30 – 40 min), turning once.

4.  Cook pasta of choice.

5.  Meanwhile, in a serving bowl, mix together pesto and labne – set aside.

6.  When pasta is cooked, add to the serving dish, mix in pesto and add roasted vegetables and salt and cracked black pepper to taste.

Shared goodness from Donna

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