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Basic tomato sauce

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  • 1kg/2¼lb ripe tomatoes, stalks cut out, cross cut in the bottom of each using a sharp knife
  • 100-150ml/3½-5fl oz olive oil
  • 4 large shallots, peeled, finely chopped
  • sprig fresh thyme, leaves only
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed to a paste with the edge of a knife