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The Perfect Tomato Sauce Recipe

Marcella Hazan writes in The Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking: "No other preparation is more successful in delivering the prodigious satisfactions of Italian cooking than a competently executed sauce with tomatoes."

Get a PDF copy of the book from this months Freebies post. 


What makes a perfect sauce? 

  1. Tomatoes
  2. Onions
  3. Herbs and aromatics
  4. Fat
  5. Cooking time


The perfect tomato sauce recipe 


800g good, tinned plum tomatoes or ripe fresh fruit
2 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tsp sugar
Dash of red-wine vinegar
3 stems of fresh basil
Extra-virgin oil, to serve (optional)

If using fresh tomatoes, drop them into a pan of boiling water and leave for about a minute, until the skins split. Lift out and peel, then roughly chop.

Heat the oil in a medium saucepan on a medium-low heat and add the chopped onion. Soften for about five to seven minutes, until translucent but not coloured. Stir in the garlic and cook for another two minutes.

Tip in the tomatoes, and break up with a wooden spoon if necessary, then add the sugar, vinegar and the stems of the basil, reserving the leaves. Season lightly.

Bring to a simmer, then turn down the heat and simmer for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally, until thick.

Test the seasoning, add the basil leaves, roughly torn, and drizzle in a little extra-virgin olive oil if you like before serving.

Recipe by Felicity Cloake


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