As the queen of pasta sauces, Tomato sauce is well known worldwide. Yet, it is a classic Italian recipe we cannot skip, especially after our blog post about fresh, home made pasta. Also, there are so many variations of it, that you can obviously find your own way around it depending on your gusto. For example, you can still make it even if you don’t have carrots and celery in the fridge, by just frying onion and garlic. You can also use a bottled tomato passata if you don’t want to go through the steps of tomato preparation, and if you do, I recommend this one. But, as said before regarding fresh tomatos vs ready passata or peeled tomatoes, it won’t taste as good even though it does save you some cooking time, especially now that the tomato season is starting. So take your time, get your hands a bit dirty and enjoy!
1 kg ripe tomatoes
1 stalk of celery
4 spring onions (but 1 small onion would do just fine instead)
2/3 garlic cloves
a few leaves of fresh basil
a few bay leaves
some dried oregano
salt and pepper
Step 1 – Wash your tomatoes and, with a knife, hit them to create a few cuts on the skin. Put some water to boil and when it’s bubbling vigorously, drop the tomatoes in and turn the stove off. Leave the tomatoes in there a few minutes until the skin is visibly lifting.
Step 2 – Take the tomatoes out one by one, peeling off their skin and cutting them into pieces in a deep container. Use the hand mixer to turn the tomatoes into a smooth tomato puree. I don’t separate the pulp from the juice because I like my sauce to have some tomato texture.
Step 3 – Chop all your flavours as you prefer. I don’t chop them too finely because I like to see the veggies in the sauce and I quite like the texture. If you don’t, chop them finely with a mezzaluna knife.
Step 4 – Fry the onion, garlic, carrot and celery on a medium heat until soft and golden. For my soffritto, I used a Ken Hom wok.Then add your tomato passata and bring it to boil. When it’s boiling, turn the heat lower and add salt, pepper and the oregano and bay leaves.
Step 5 – Now let your tomato sauce simmer. The romantic fact about tomato sauce is that any Italian would remember their grandma, an auntie or their mother letting the tomato sauce simmer for hours and hours. Well, that ritual is actually needed when you use fresh tomatoes, in order to give the sauce time to steam out the water and to gain that creamy, yummy texture we need for our lovely pasta dishes. I let this one simmer for about two hours, but I would say it requires enough time for you to be happy with the texture of your sauce.
Step 6 – When it’s almost ready add the basil leaves- whole- so that they give your sauce its unique fragrance. Now you just have to boil some dried pasta, or your own fresh pasta, mix it with the sauce and add some freshly grated parmesan to complete your dish. Enjoy with a lovely glass of red vino!