Thursday, June 25, 2009

Tomato Sauce....the REAL deal

This is THE quintessential classic Italian tomato sauce. Taught to me by a chef who is Italian!
Simple is best when it comes to this recipe and that is hard for me to do. I always want to add flavours I love and pile them high and in excess. With ethnic cooking that can work okay but with this you don't want to mess with the best. And this was pure, divine, tomato goodness.

28 oz can of whole tomatoes run through a food mill, de-seeded
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
Quality tomato paste (one from Italy)
2 large basil leaves torn
1 small onion, finely diced (about 1/2 a cup)
4 tablespoons olive oil
Pasta - Barilla is a great Italian brand and found almost everywhere

There are some major elements that can make or break this sauce.

1) You need whole tomatoes and make sure you check the label to make sure there is no salt or citric acid. That means the tomatoes were picked before they were ripe and you are not compromising flavour.
2) The tomatoes need to be run through a sieve or food mill which is the best method as you still get chunks of tomato then. You need to remove the seeds. The seeds become bitter once cooked and you don't want that!
3) Make sure you take your time sauteing the onion and garlic as you don't want them to burn--another bitter taste you don't want any of.

Saute onions in olive oil in a medium saucepan until golden. Add garlic and saute until soft. Do not brown or burn. Add tomato paste and saute gently for 4 minutes.

Add tomato puree and simmer for 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Season and stir in basil and fresh olive oil.

I added some chili's and prawns and roasted tomatoes because I just couldn't stop myself. A glass of Pinot Noir went exceptionally well with the light, tart and sweet tomatoes.

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