A tin of tomatoes
Whatever else is in your fridge/cupboard
Chop up an onion into little pieces. In a big pan that you put a glug of olive oil into, place one small piece of onion and turn the heat up to.. like, one stop before the highest. When it starts crackling, turn the heat down to one stop below middle, and shove in the rest of the onion.
This is also when you put in crushed garlic – you can crush it with the flat of a knife, you know – and chopped up chorizo/bacon, if you are using it. You can also put in a chopped up stick of celery, and or a carrot, chopped up also.
Put the lid on, turn it down another notch, let it be for 5 – 10 mins. Shoogle it about every so often.
Meat goes in now, for browning. (If you’re doing chicken, a trick is at the very beginning, to fry it on a high heat to seal it first, that is, just until it’s brown on all sides but not through the middle. Then take it out of the pan, put it to one side, and then start at the onion stuff at the beginning. Then add it back again when you stick the tomatoes in)
Now: stick in a can of tomatos, crushed, or plum (but you need to crush them yourself with an implement) plus any veg (like brocolli or aubergine, all cut up small) and/or canned beans. (Not baked: I mean canneloni, or chickpeas, or borlotti or whatever you fancy/was on offer.) Put lid on, leave for 15 minutes. Stir about halfway through. (we’re still on low-medium heat)
Then take lid off, stir. stick in a bay leaf if you are cooking with beef, put any other stuff in, like a teaspoon of marmite or a shake of worcestererstershire sauce. Leave lid off for 20 minutes or until it’s reduced to a consistency you like. If you have spinach, stick that in when you look at it and think “oh it just needs another bit longer.” when it’s ready, dollop out into bowls. Serve with pasta, rice or crusty bread or whatever.