Monday, May 8, 2017

Basic Tomato Sauce


  • 1/2 medium onion (1 cup)
  • 4 large cloves of garlic
  • 4 - 28 oz (796 ml) cans whole tomatoes
  • 1 - 5.5 oz (162 ml) can tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • pinch of kosher or sea salt
  • sea salt, to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste (optional)
  • 8 basil leaves (optional)
  • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

To prepare your mise en place, finely dice the onions and émincé the garlic. Deseed the tomatoes by pushing them through a food mill or passatutto. Measure out the tomato paste and olive oil and set aside.
To make the sauce even thicker, drain the liquid from the whole tomatoes and pass only the whole tomatoes through the food mill or passatutto. Use the drained liquid in another dish.
To start the sauce, heat a heavy-bottomed pot over medium-low heat. Then add the oil, followed by the onions. Next, add a pinch of salt and let the onions gently cook until they soften and just begin to turn a slight golden color.
Once they’re ready, add the garlic and cook for about 1 minute or so, just until softened. Stir in the tomato paste and let it gently cook for a few minutes until it becomes a shade darker. Then add the deseeded tomatoes and a good pinch of salt. Stir to combine and bring to a simmer over medium-low heat. Cook uncovered for about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent scorching.
Once the sauce has finished cooking, turn off the heat and taste for seasoning. To give the sauce an Italian flair, torn, fresh basil can be added, along with a splash of olive oil to finish.

Tomato sauce is one of the five mother sauces. This base can be varied with other herbs and spices.
Once the sauce has cooled, it will keep in the refrigerator for a few days or it can be frozen for several months. However, it may be a bit watery once it thaws, so it will need to be cooked down slightly when reheated.
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