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Two delicious River Café recipes: Slow-Cooked Tomato sauce, and Baked Ricotta

A new cookbook celebrates three decades of memories and exceptional food at the iconic London restaurant


Ricotta Forno

Ricotta Forno

Slow-Cooked Tomato sauce

Slow-Cooked Tomato sauce

River Cafe book cover

River Cafe book cover


Ricotta Forno

This year marks 30 years since the River Cafe first opened its doors by the Thames in London and 22 years since Ruth Rogers and the late Rose Gray published their first blue cookbook, a global bestseller that redefined the cookbook genre.

Ruth and Rose set up The River Cafe in 1987. It won a Michelin star in 1998, and it was here that the talents of Jamie Oliver were first spotted.

The new book is written by Ruth and the River Cafe head chefs, Sian Wyn Owen and Joseph Trivelli (all pictured below), and has been fully updated for the modern home cook. The book includes 90 classic recipes from that original book (such as Chocolate Nemesis and Veal Shin in Barbaresco), along with 30 new recipes from the restaurant today - all woven together with Ruth's tips, memories and stories.

Sugo di Pomodoro a Fuoco Lento

Slow-Cooked Tomato sauce

Makes enough for 6-8 servings


3 tablespoons olive oil

2 medium red onions, peeled and sliced as thinly as possible into rounds

2 garlic cloves, peeled and cut into slivers

2 x 1kg jars peeled plum tomatoes, drained of their juices

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Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan or frying pan, add the onions and cook over a low heat until they are very soft. This will take at least 40 minutes - the onions must disappear into the tomato sauce. Some 5 minutes before the end of cooking, add the garlic.

Now add the tomatoes and stir to break them up. Season with salt and pepper. Cook slowly, stirring occasionally, for at least 1 ½ hours. When the sauce is ready, it will be dark red and extremely thick, with no juice at all, and the oil will have come to the surface.

Ricotta al Forno,

baked ricotta

Serves 6


Unsalted butter and grated Parmesan for the dish

2 handfuls of fresh basil leaves a handful of fresh mint leaves

A handful of fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves

500g bufala ricotta

120ml double cream

2 eggs

150g Parmesan, freshly grated

12 black olives, stoned and chopped

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


Using a little butter and some grated Parmesan, coat the bottom and sides of a 30cm springform tin. Shake out any excess cheese.

Put the herbs into the bowl of a food processor and put half of the ricotta and cream on the top. Blend until bright green.

Add the remainder of the ricotta and cream and turn on the machine again. While blending, add the eggs one by one. Season with salt and pepper. Finally, fold in the Parmesan.

Spoon the mixture into the tin and spread the olives over the top. Bake for 20 minutes. The torte should rise and have a brown crust but still be soft in the centre. Serve after 5 minutes.

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