Decadently French: Confit chicken

Only the French could make something as pedestrian as chicken decadently delicious.

Confit is a traditional way of preserving meats, primarily, by slow cooking in fat, then packing cooked meats and fat in a sealed container to the meats keeps for months instead of days.

So far, so pragmatic.

The thing is, they don’t just use any old fat. They use duck fat. And holy hell is it delicious! The flavour of the duck goes deep into the chicken, making it a country mile from your common or garden slow cooked chook.

My lovely friends at L’Authentique have developed their own confit range, which includes a truly delectable chicken. I’ve given you two ways to use the confit below: the first, a traditional confit leg with duck fat roast potatoes; the second, a confit risotto.

Deliciously decadent.

Serves 42017-06-15 16.33.58 v1

4 confit chicken legs
4 large agria potatoes
Green salad to serve

  1. Remove chicken from the packet, keeping aside duck fat and chicken stock
  2. Heat the oven to 210°C
  3. Peel potatoes and chop into either chips or 4cm chunks, whichever you prefer
  4. Place potatoes in a saucepan, cover with water and salt liberally. Bring to the boil and cook for 5 minutes. Drain and allow to dry slightly.
  5. Take 4 tablespoons of duck fat and heat in a roasting dish. When the fat is melted and hot, toss the partially cooked  potatoes in the fat and then put into the oven for 30 minutes or until potatoes are golden brown and crisp, turning occasionally during cooking.
  6. Heat another tablespoon of duck fat in a large frying pan over a medium heat. When hot, add the chicken legs and cook until skin is browned and crisp (about 10 minutes). Turn over and repeat on the other side.
  7. Serve one chicken leg per person with roast potatoes and salad on the side.


Serves 4

2017-06-16 09.35.36 v12 tablespoons oil or duck fat
4 rashers bacon
1 onion, finely chopped
2 sticks celery, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
350g abrorio rice
¼ cup white wine
1.5 litre chicken stock
200g mushrooms, sliced
2 confit chicken legs, bones removed and meat shredded
A knob of butter
Salt/pepper to taste
1 cup grated parmesan
Bunch parsley, leaves chopped

  1. Bring stock to a simmer in a large pan over a medium heat
  2. Meanwhile, heat oil or fat in another large heavy based casserole dish
  3. Add bacon and cook until crisp and well browned
  4. Add onion, celery, garlic and thyme and cook until onion is soft and translucent
  5. Sprinkle over rice and stir to combine, until rice grains are coated in oil and glistening.
  6. Pour over wine and bring to the boil, stirring constantly.
  7. When wine is almost absorbed, begin adding stock, one ladle at a time until rice is creamy and al dente (the final risotto should be fairly liquid). Stir throughout the process.
  8. Halfway through cooking the risotto, add the mushrooms and stir to combine.
  9. Once the rice is cooked to your liking, turn off the heat, add the chicken and butter and stir.
  10. Season to taste, and stir through parsley just prior to serving.

A match made in heaven: Pizza and Sausage

I’d never really considered using sausage on pizza, but this is so good! The pork and fennel flavour with mushrooms, basil and cheese works a treat. And as always, my friends from L’Authentique make the best sausages in town. They’re just meat and spices, so no danger of eating anything you really shouldn’t.

I’ve given you the recipes to make the pizza from scratch, but if you can’t be bothered or time is tight, feel free to use store bought pizza bases and sauce. It’s ok. I won’t judge you.


Pizza Base
This recipe is from Al Brown’s fabulous book Stoked. It’s quite a wet dough, but I’ve found that if you use strong (high-grade) flour and give it time to develop, you can handle it without too much trouble. This makes a thick crust pizza base.

500ml warm water
2 tsp dried yeast
2 tsp sugar
4 1/2 cups strong (high grade) flour
2 tsp salt

  1. Put the warm water in a bowl and add yeast and sugar. Stir then leave for 5 minutes or until the yeast begins to bubble
  2. Using the dough hook attachment on a stand cake mixer, mix together the water/yeast mixture with the flour and salt on low speed for 8-10 minutes until smooth.
  3. Transfer to an oiled bowl, cover with cling film and sit in a warm place to prove. Knock back a couple of times with oiled hands
  4. Break off pieces of dough to size required. Place on oiled tray and stretch until relatively thin (this takes a bit of effort)

Pizza Sauce
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 red onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 Tbsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried chilli flakes (optional)
2 x 400g tins crushed tomatoes
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar

  1. Heat olive oil over a low heat. Add red onion, garlic, oregano and chilli flakes (if using) and cook until onion is soft.
  2. Add tins of tomatoes, bring to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer until reduced and thick
  3. Add red wine vinegar and cook until acidity has simmered off.
  4. Season to taste.


Topping (per pizza):2017-04-05 14.25.23 v1
1/2 ball fresh mozzarella
¼ cup grated parmesan
1 Tbsp fresh rosemary, finely chopped
4 mushrooms, finely sliced
2 L’Authentique Pork & Fennel Sausages, casings removed
Handful fresh basil leaves

  1. Heat oven to 220C.
  2. Shape the pizza base to fit a 30cm diameter pizza tin, and brush the top of the base with olive oil.
  3. Spread pizza sauce over the base until evenly covered (use about ¼ of the above recipe).
  4. Arrange slices of mozzarella over pizza, sprinkle over parmesan and rosemary.
  5. Top with mushrooms, then break up sausage and dot all over the pizza.
  6. Bake for 20 minutes or until base is golden.
  7. Remove from oven and scatter over fresh basil leaves. Serve immediately

Luganega Sausage Orecchiette with Broccoli

This recipe was inspired by my friend Charlotte’s lovely step-father Les, who makes a version of this as his signature dish. When he heard I was planning to make this, he even provided the Oricchiette pasta! Thanks Les x

It was a perfect excuse to try L’Authentique’s latest creation – an Italian Luganega pork sausage, with parmesan, fresh garlic and white wine. I tested some of the sausages at Farro yesterday for them, and we sold out in minutes! They’re that good.

If you can’t find Luganega, feel free to exchange for a good pork and fennel sausage instead.

Serves 6 generously

500g orecchiette pasta2017-05-19 09.12.45 v1
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, chopped
500g Luganega sausage (approx 2 packs)
1 red capsicum, cut into small dice
1 cup chicken stock
1 head broccoli, cut into small florets
1/4 cup cream
1/2 cup parmesan, grated
1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
Salt/Pepper to taste

  1. Heat a large pot of salted water. When boiling, add the pasta and cook to the manufacturer’s instructions
  2. Meanwhile, in a large heavy based frying pan, heat the olive oil over a moderate heat. Add onion and cook, stirring, until onion is soft (about 5 minutes)
  3. Using a small sharp knife, split the sausage casing, and remove the sausage from the skins. Add the sausage meat to the pan, and cook, using a wooden spoon to break up.
  4. Add the chicken stock and capsicum, and cook for 5 minutes.
  5. Add the broccoli, stir to combine and cook for another 2 minutes
  6. Add the cream and parmesan and cook until the cheese has melted and combined
  7. Add parsley and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  8. Toss through the pasta and garnish with extra parsley and grated parmesan.

Back to nature. With spaghetti, clams and fennel.

I’ll warn you up front – if you have an aversion to anything alternative lifestylish, you should back away now. Because I’ve been out on holiday at Waiheke Island for the past week, and I’m looking for the good life.

This is not a new condition. It used to hit in fits and starts when I was unhappy at work. If I was feeling stressed, I’d head to the garden centre and buy some herbs to put in pots, in some inner city single girl attempt to breath life into green things, and demonstrate my misguided connection to nature.

When we moved to London, I attempted to inject some green into our concrete jungle by planting on our roof terrace, hoping the seedlings would embrace the smog and reach up to the thin, sickly rays of almost sunlight that make up an English winter.

Back in New Zealand, I dug garden beds in our larger backyard, planted tomatoes and zucchini in summer, silverbeet and not much else in winter. It centred me, made me feel like I was capable of producing more than spreadsheets and endless numbers. I liked the smell of the garden, the heat of the sun on my back, my arms and legs feeling tired, scratched and sore after a day of digging.

Mostly I love the feeling of growing my own food. Obviously the cooking part is a given, but there’s something even better about having planted a tiny seedling and nurtured it to maturity, which is then turned into something delicious to feed your family.

Our section was generous, so much so, I entertained the idea of expanding my home produce offering with the addition of chickens, then bees. Totally ignoring that I was a full time working mother of two, with a husband and a cat to boot. And a generous garden to maintain. I struggled to look after the garden, let alone chickens and bees. Ultimately we sold and moved to a house without a garden. And I am bereft

Luckily there’s Waiheke. The garden at my in laws house is groaning with figs, feijoas, limes, lemons, parsley, oregano, basil, rosemary and thyme, and that’s not to mention the lettuces, tomatoes and chillies that my mother in law grows in summer. When I come here, I get all the good feelings of self sufficiency combined with fresh, home grown produce. Without the hard graft (at least from me).

There’s the abundance of fresh seafood we are so fortunate to have in New Zealand. A quick dig at low tide yields enough tuatuas (surf clams) to feed our family. In summer my diver husband can gather fresh scallops from a number of highly confidential locations, and if the gods are smiling, a decent sized crayfish or two. Although the fish aren’t as plentiful as they once were, we manage to catch the odd snapper, making for the freshest, sweetest sashimi you’ve ever tasted.

It makes my heart sing. To know where my food comes from. To have produced it myself in some cases, or hunted and gathered it in others. To know that it hasn’t been kept in a chiller for months, washed in a chlorinated solution, or packed with sulphites to preserve it. To know that everything I’m feeding myself and my family is as healthy as it can be.

Then I head back to reality. The reality where I know I should be shopping at farmers markets, but the supermarket is closer. Where I should buy organic, but inorganic is cheaper. Where I should grow my own, but my small courtyard garden is covered in stones too heavy to move. So many excuses. So many barriers. I know I could and can do better.

My new resolutions:

1. Buy organic when I can

2. Buy from small producers as much as possible

3. Get someone to help me move the stones from my garden and start planting

4. (This is a hard one!) Negotiate with the neighbours to plant fruit trees on our grass verge

Wish me luck.


Serves 4

Cockles or clams are a fantastic source of omega 3, brilliant for brain health. They also have the added advantage of being a sustainable seafood species.

250g spaghetti, cooked to manufacturer’s instructions

2 Tbsp olive oil

1 fennel bulb, finely sliced

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped or crushed

1 red chilli, finely chopped

Zest of a lemon

1 cup white wine

1/2 cup chopped parsley leaves

1.5kg live tuatuas, cockles or clams

Pepper to taste

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large deep frypan with a lid (large enough to fit all the shellfish) over a low heat
  2. Add the fennel and cook slowly until soft. Do not brown.
  3. Add garlic, chilli and lemon zest and cook for 1 minute
  4. Pour over white wine, increase heat and bring to the boil.
  5. Add shellfish to the pan, reduce heat to simmer, cover and cook until all shellfish are open, shaking to combine the flavours. This will not take long, so keep an eye on the pan so they don’t overcook. Discard any that don’t open. Stir through the parsley.
  6. Season the sauce to taste (you shouldn’t need any extra salt), then toss through the cooked spaghetti.
  7. Serve with lemon wedges and a sprinkle of extra parsley.

The trials and tribulations of school holidays. With a cheesy, tomato-y, chicken pasta bake.

School holidays are a consistent chore. To be fair, it was worse when I was working full time, trying to make plans for what to do with kids over what seemed an eternity.

Now I’m home, they’re home, we get under each other’s feet, and my brain gets muddled with all the stuff they need. I forget that it’s just them on holiday and not me. I forget that I should still get out of bed when the alarm goes off. I forget that there are still chores to do, blog posts to write, exercise to be done.

All normal routine goes out the window and the days drift by. I go to bed very night berating myself for what I didn’t achieve during the day, only to wake the next morning, and let it all drift by again. The washing piles up, plates pile up, crumbs, carpet stains and cat fur take on a life of their own.

And GLASSES! So many GLASSES! Like every drop of water needs a fresh glass. Like my children may be poisoned by a glass that has been touched by the skin of another. They remember where the glasses live when they’re clean, but forget where the dishwasher is when they’re dirty. The dishwasher wears a cloak of invisibility, but it only works if you’re under 18, like some perverse joke from H Potter & Co.

As if having your own kids full time for two weeks wasn’t bad enough, kids at home attract other kids. Play dates, sleep overs, “hang out”s all require other people’s children. So far this holiday we’ve experienced:

  • NERF wars on an epic scale, upstairs and downstairs, inside and out;
  • Teenage toast making at 1am;
  • Light sabre battles, similar to NERF wars, without millions of foam bullets but significantly more likely to inflict pain and possible injury;
  • Loud sleep talking at 4am from teenaged friend;
  • Endless X-Box Kinect games, akin to having a army of pygmy elephants dancing an Irish jig on the ceiling;
  • 6am Instagram/Snapchat related squeals over boy of the week/shoes of the week/cat of the week

In all honesty, it’s cheaper for them to be at school. Other than food that I’d need to give them anyway, my only significant weekly kid-related expenses are fuel and bus fares. During the holidays, there’s movies, snacks, endless cries for sushi, McDonald’s, Starbucks, icecream, trips to JB HiFi to buy more attachments for the latest X-Box Skylanders scam, trips to H&M to buy more of anything really, trips out to the beach…..

But then, that’s the relief of school holidays. We have made a point of committing at least one week of each school holiday period to having a real family holiday. The trips to the beach or the mountain are when the kids can run, can reclaim their independence, where we can all have a break. Where we can reconnect with each other without the endless consumerism driven distractions. Where it’s really a holiday.

One week to go.


School holidays is a good time to experiment with dinners that are easy to prepare and tasty for everyone. I’ve added extra veg into this too, although my son managed to pick all the spinach out, as he does. Everyone else liked it though.

400g dried pasta (penne is good), cooked to manufacturer’s instructions2017-04-18 19.43.12 v1
2 Tbsp olive oil
750g boneless chicken thighs
1 onion, finely chopped
1 red capsicum, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped (or crushed if it’s easier)
1 Tbsp dried oregano
1/2 cup white wine
2 x 440g tins crushed tomatoes
2 cups baby spinach leaves
Large handful fresh basil leaves
1 cup grated mozarella, plus extra for topping
Salt and pepper

  1. Heat the oven to 200ºC
  2. Heat olive oil in a large heavy based frying pan over medium/high heat. Add chicken thighs and cook until browned. Remove from pan and set aside.
  3. Reheat pan, adding more oil if necessary, over low heat. Add onion, capsicum, garlic and oregano, and cook, stirring occasionally until vegetables are soft.
  4. Pour over white wine and allow to bubble up. Boil until reduced by half.
  5. Add tinned tomatoes and stir to combine. Bring to the boil, and cook until sauce is thick. This should take about 30 minutes.
  6. Slice chicken thighs into 1cm thick slices and add to sauce. Cook for another 5 minutes, then stir through mozarella, spinach and basil. Season to taste.
  7. Add cooked pasta to the pan and stir to combine.
  8. At this stage you can either transfer the pasta mix to a large baking dish, or leave it in the pan if it’s oven proof.
  9. Sprinkle over extra grated mozarella, and bake until the top is golden, about 20 minutes. Allow to cool slightly and serve.

Don’t believe the hype. And spaghetti with a sausage, mushroom and cream sauce.

A few weeks ago some friends and I were having a discussion about why I’d left my job in advertising. Amongst the many positive reasons (stress reduction, life balance, a love of food), I explained that I was a “people pleaser”. My desire to please people meant that criticism of my work, justified or not, left me feeling devastated, made me feel that I was letting my employers and clients down. That I wasn’t good enough.

My friend rolled her eyes – “Stop believing your own narrative”, she said.

When I asked what she meant, she talked about how we create a narrative for ourselves that gives us an excuse to explain away difficult situations in our lives. How this narrative becomes our “get out of jail free card”. How it allows us to level the blame at anyone but ourselves.

Of course, I resented what she was saying enormously. How dare she! Doesn’t she know how tough it was for me? Doesn’t she know that my former employer was an industry renowned bully? That my clients were some of the most difficult in town? That I’m just a really nice person who doesn’t deserve to be treated like that….

So many excuses. And she was right. The reality is that the only person making me feel the way I did was me. No one else can be held responsible for my feelings. I’m the one who feels them. I’m the one who creates the way I respond. The narrative is the story we tell ourselves to justify our responses, to give ourselves a reason to never change the way we respond.

That’s not to say that there aren’t situations beyond our control. We can’t predict the future, we can’t control the way others will act, we can only control the way we react.

I have a friend who is continually busy. So busy. So overworked. So unappreciated. So overloaded. For many years, I listened to her many tales of hours worked, pressure applied, late nights and early mornings in the office, too many deadlines, impossible to meet. It was odd though – she moved to different companies and the pressure and long hours remained. No matter where she worked, she told the same story of unappreciative employers, pushing her to work to breaking.

The reality is that my friend is the common denominator. I have no doubt that her job was intense, that the role was demanding. But she has never tried to change it. She’s accepted this situation as her narrative. It gives her a story to tell, makes her a sympathetic figure, means that she never has to take responsibility for the place she finds herself in. There are other people performing the same role across her industry, without these issues. This is not a professional problem, this is her problem.

Conversely, I have a friend who is in a very demanding role, at an extremely senior level in the corporate world. I’ve never been brave enough to ask what she earns (a lot!). I know roughly the value of her role, the vast sums of money and people she’s responsible for. She transacts with governments and heads of industry all over the world. On any given day, she can be flying in or out of New York, Shanghai, London, Tokyo, Auckland or Sydney. On top of that, she has a husband and two very active children. And friends and family who like to see her when she’s able.

It would be easy for her to cry busy. To complain that her work is crushing down on her, to tell everyone she doesn’t have time to spend. To prioritise her work above all else. But she doesn’t. She sets boundaries. She works so hard, but she also accepts that she chose this life, she chose this work, she chose a family. She doesn’t let busy become her narrative. She defines her life, rather than letting life define her. It’s part of what has made her so successful in so many aspects of her life.

It’s not just work. We apply our narrative to our romantic lives, our financial situations, our children, our friendships. There are so many stories of people who have overcome extreme hardship, while so many others retreat into themselves, looking for someone else to blame. Their parents, their ex-husbands, the government, a religious minority, a different ethnicity.

Two similar situations, two different responses. Another friend has now filled the role I previously held. Where I found the criticism crippling, she takes on board constructive criticism and makes the appropriate changes. She lets unjustified criticism fall off her, or fights to dispel it, if it’s important enough. While there are aspects of the role she doesn’t like (no role is perfect), she is thriving, where I was withered by my own narrative.

Our success in life is not the situations we find ourselves in. It’s how we react to those situations.

I am trying hard not to take every piece of criticism leveled at me as a personal attack. I’m trying less hard to please others, and am pushing back where I think it’s justified. I’m changing my narrative from being the woman who worked for a mean boss and a tough client, to being the woman who’s learnt a lot from her years in advertising and had some good times and some bad. And who’s really happy with the way her new life is going.


Serves 4

250g spaghetti, cooked to manufacturer’s instructions
2 Tbsp olive oil
450g L’Authentique Pork and Fennel or Toulouse Sausages (casings removed) or French Grind
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 Tbsp fresh rosemary, finely chopped
1/4 cup white wine
1 cup cream
200g mushrooms, sliced
3 handfuls fresh spinach leaves
1/4 cup fresh parsley leaves, roughly chopped
salt/pepper to season

  1. Heat olive oil in a deep sided frying pan.
  2. Add sausage and cook, breaking up with a spoon until lightly browned. Remove from pan and set aside.
  3. Reheat pan, and add garlic and rosemary. Cook until garlic is soft and fragrant. Be careful not to brown.
  4. Pour over white wine and allow to bubble up.
  5. Add cream and mushrooms, and cook until sauce is reduced by a third and starting to thicken.
  6. Return sausage to the pan, and stir through spinach and parsley.
  7. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve with hot spaghetti. Garnish with extra chopped parsley if desired.


I love that my daughter fights. And loves my 4 cheese pasta bake.

I love that my daughter fights against me. Me and anyone and everyone.

I love that she’s opinionated, strong willed and outspoken.

I love that she stands up for what she believes in, and she believes she’s the most important person in the room.

I love that her self confidence shines from every pore, that she loves her body and rejoices in her flaws.

I love that she completely owns her anxieties and depressions and will talk about them to anyone who asks.


I love that I have so much hope for her future. Hope that she will have the strength to fight any gender discrimination she faces when she goes to work. Hope that she will be able to fight off any sexual predator, that she will own her sexuality and wear it with pride, that she will never allow herself to be slut-shamed. Although I hope more that she’ll never have that experience.

2017-03-25 20.03.48
Melie & I, March 2017

I love that she’s so brave that she told her science teacher off this week. There was an incorrect answer to a question in a recent test, so she pushed back. She got the extra mark, and got them to change the question for future tests. She also got the top mark for the test.

I love that she doesn’t accept when things are wrong, that she doesn’t back down, that she’s so smart that she can argue her case. And that she gets her own way.

I love that she’s an amazingly mature teenager, with incredible depth and insight.

I love that all of these things will make her an amazing, strong, forthright, outspoken, honest, opinionated, willful, NASTY woman (with thanks to Hillary Clinton…).

I love my daughter. She’s awesome.

4 CHEESE PASTA BAKE2017-03-27 15.44.57 V1.jpg

This is my daughter’s favourite dinner. Actually, if I’m honest, it’s macaroni cheese, but really. This is much more fancy, and about the same amount of work. If I was Italian it would be Macaroni Quattro Formaggi, but I’m not, so 4 cheese pasta it is. Enjoy.

500g dried pasta
500ml milk
2 x bay leaves
50g butter
1/4 cup flour
2 tablespoons thinly slice sage leaves, plus 12 extra
250g sour cream
150g blue cheese
100g ricotta cheese
100g mozzarella
50g parmesan, finely grated

  1. Cook pasta in salted water until al dente
  2. Heat milk and bay leaves until hot
  3. Melt butter in saucepan, add flour and cook 1 minute
  4. Whisk in hot milk and sage and keep whisking until thickened
  5. Whisk in sour cream, blue cheese, ricotta and mozarella
  6. Simmer until cheeses have melted
  7. Season to taste with salt and pepper
  8. Mix cheese sauce and pasta
  9. Pour into baking dish and top with parmesan cheese and remaining sage leaves
  10. Cook in 200°C oven until golden (about 30 minutes)


Making the most of leftover roasts: Ragu with Pappardelle

As the weather starts to become more autumnal, a Sunday roast is reintroduced to our weekly dining schedule (which makes me sound so much more impressively structured than I actually am).

A decent sized leg of lamb is far too much for our family of four, which leaves meat for school lunches, and a multitude of leftovers.

So I use the leftovers to make at least one more meal, depending on the size of the beast I’ve cooked. A ragu makes the left over meat go a good way further, which we eat either with pasta, or thickened and used as a filling for pies. It’s even good on toast.

You can use any meat you have for this recipe – lamb, beef, chicken, pork or turkey all work well. Just use the stock appropriate for each animal (beef stock for red meat, chicken stock for pork or bird meat), the same for wine (red for red, white for white). If you have gravy left over, feel free to throw that it also, but make it up to the quantity below with  extra water. The herbs I’ve used here (rosemary and bay) can also be changed out for other woody herbs like thyme or oregano, and you can use chopped parsley or basil to finish.

This recipe also freezes well, so you can save it for another day.

Serves 4

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 brown onion, finely chopped
2 carrots peeled and finely diced
2 sticks of celery finely diced
3 cloves of garlic finely chopped
1 sprig of rosemary
2 bay leaves
1 cup red wine
440g tin crushed tomatoes or passata
2 cups of stock or left over gravy made up to two cups with extra water
500g leftover roast lamb, chopped into chunks
Salt/pepper to taste
3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
300g pappardelle, cooked to manufacturer’s instructions
Freshly grated parmesan and chopped basil or parsley to serve

  1. Heat olive oil over a medium heat. Add onion, carrots, celery and garlic and saute until soft, but not browned
  2. Increase heat, pour over wine and allow to bubble up.
  3. Add rosemary, bay, stock (or gravy) and tinned tomatoes. Stir through chopped meat, bring to the boil.
  4. Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook until meat is very soft (ideally falling into ribbons). About an hour. Add more water if sauce becomes too thick.
  5. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  6. Add balsamic vinegar, return to boiling and cook for 5 minutes. Taste to check that vinegar flavour has sweetened with cooking, adjust seasonings, and serve with cooked pasta.
  7. Garnish with parmesan and chopped basil or parsley.