Nonna; My mom’s grandma was Italian and passed on many wonderful recipes to the talented ladies in the family. They each adapted the details to their likings but the origins are filled with Italian flavors and most importantly: Love. Nonna’s original Tomato Sauce recipe included flour and involved a roux based thickening technique… fast forward to the 21st century. I simplified her recipe and came up with a foolproof and overly tested Basic Tomato Sauce I can rely on. It quickly became my go-to tomato sauce and it works perfectly well with my Mediterranean cooking repertoire.
I peel the tomatoes for a smooth texture. You can skip this step of course. Without the tomato peel and no added tomato paste, my Basic Tomato Sauce is very often orange; a real tomato sauce. I keep it simple and basic so I can infuse it with the appropriate herbs depending on the recipe I am making.
For the Lebanese dishes like fattit kafta etc… I add dried oregano and thyme. For a simple pasta meal I infuse few fresh basil leaves and remove them before serving. You can also use it in your bolognese sauce as a base, or for many applications, season it with dried thyme, rosemary, parsley, chives,… It is your sauce to play with!
Basic Tomato Sauce
Recipe credits: Rafaella Sargi
2 pounds (1 kg) tomatoes, peeled and roughly chopped
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
1 big onion, roughly chopped (about 1 cup)
3 garlic cloves, peeled and cut in 4
2 teaspoons Sea salt
1 1/2 cup water
1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
Prep all the ingredients.
You will need one large pot with a lid and an immersion blender.
In a large pot, heat the oil and melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook over medium heat until soft and very lightly golden, mixing from time to time, then the garlic and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes, mix well, immerse with water (approx. 1 1/2 cup of water), season with salt and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat to medium low and cover the pot. Let it simmer until the tomatoes are completely cooked through, broken down and the onions super soft.
Remove from the heat and puree using an immersion blender* until completely smooth and homogeneous.
Return the pot to the stove, add sugar and let it simmer uncovered for at least 30 minutes until a little thickened. Taste and adjust seasoning.
Use in the required recipe or label and freeze for future use.
*If you do not have an immersion blender, you can transfer the pot content to a regular blender (or food processor), puree the sauce, return it to the pot and proceed with the next recipe steps…