Over the last few months, as we’ve all been spending more time at home, the Shop Talk blog has brought you a variety of simple and yummy do-it-yourself recipes – from pizza and hummus to guacamole and bread. Here’s another of our favorites: tomato sauce.
Tomato sauce is a must for any kitchen because it can be paired up with an endless variety of other ingredients – from pasta to meatballs to Italian sausage or even tuna and vegetables – to make tasty and healthy meals or salsas.
We tend to associate tomato sauce with Italy, where it’s called Neapolitan sauce or salsa di pomodoro or puttanesca and arrabbiata for the spicier versions. But the reality is it was invented in Mexico and made from tomatl (“the swelling fruit”) by the Aztecs who cultivated it. It was only once the Spanish conquered Central America that the tomato plant was brought back to Europe where it was slowly adopted into dishes, sauces, salads and drinks.
In fact, the first person to write about tomato sauce was a Franciscan friar named Bernadino de Sahagun who discovered it in the markets of Mexico City. And tomato sauce first appeared with pasta in an Italian cookbook in 1790. So, it’s really the Italian and French adaptation of the Mexican sauce that most of think of us as “tomato sauce” today.
At its simplest, tomato sauce is simply chopped tomatoes cooked and simmered until it loses its raw flavor, then seasoned with salt, herbs and spices. The thickest version of this is called tomato paste, less thick and it’s called purée and the thinnest of all is actual tomato sauce.
You can find an endless variety of tomato sauces online but here’s one of our favorite and easiest to make:
· Add 1 medium onion, 2 celery stalks and 2 medium carrots to a food processor until they’re chopped into small pieces.
· Heat 2 tbsp of olive oil on medium and sauté the chopped vegetables until they’re soft and liquid is no longer being released.
· Form a well into the softened veggies and add 1 tbsp on olive oil and 3 cloves of finely chopped garlic. Allow the garlic to brown slightly.
· Mix in 4 14.5 oz cans of crushed plum tomatoes
· Mix in a handful each of chopped parsley and basil
· Add salt and pepper
· Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 30 minutes
· If you’re finding the sauce too acidic, add a ½ tbsp of sugar at a time and taste
And you’re done! Enjoy!
What’s your favorite way to use tomato sauce? Share your recipes and ideas in the Shop Talk blog community forum!
Did you know? Hold on – ketchup?
In Australia and New Zealand “tomato sauce” is actually what we call ketchup.