Tomato sauce (Sugo al pomodoro)
Suitable for freezingTomato sauce (sugo al pomodoro) is an Italian classic and there is nothing better than to prepare it yourself (the “equivalent” you buy at the supermarket is miles away from matching this home made sauce). The recipe is straightforward, the ingredients are extremely easy to find and it is also very cheap to make.If you do not have time to prepare this sauce in the traditional way, a faster way is to buy a can of chopped tomatoes. Fortunately, there are a lot of canned tomato producers that supply organic chopped tomatoes, without any chemical additives or pesticides in them, so pick your favourite can and follow the directions in this recipe.Use the tomato sauce to top pasta or potato gnocchi. This is also the base sauce for preparing “aubergines parmigiana” with the only variation being that for the “aubergine parmigiana” I prefer to use butter to sweat the onion off.
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- 1 kilogram (2.2 lb) Tomatoes (preferably organic)
- 80 grams (3 oz) Onion (finely chopped)
- 80 ml (3 fl oz) Extra virgin olive oil (plus an extra dash to complete the sauce at the end)
- 1 tsp Sugar
- 1 tbs Tomato purée (optional)
- Few basil leaves
- Salt for seasoning
- Finley chop the onion. Next, gently rinse the basil leaves and delicately pat them dry. If you rub the leaves, instead of patting them dry, they will loose part of their aroma.
- Wash and dry the tomatoes. Next, using a paring knife, remove the eye from each tomato.
- Using a paring knife, score a cross on the bottom of each tomato.
- Take a large pan full of water, bring the water to the boil, plunge the tomatoes into the pan and blanch for 15-20 seconds, until you see some cracks on the tomato skin. I had 10 tomatoes, so I did this in two stages (don’t add all the tomatoes into the boiling water in one go; it will bring the temperature of the water down and make the blanching less effective).
- Using a slotted spoon, remove the tomatoes from the pan.
- Put the tomatoes into a colander.
- Peel the tomatoes.
- Quarter the tomatoes.
- Remove core and seeds from each tomato quarter. The pictures shows a small bowl on the left, where I have collected all the cores and seeds. These will not be of any use so you can discard them. Keep only the tomato petals.
- Dice the tomato petals.
- Put the olive oil into a sauce pan. Heat the oil and then add the onion.
- Sweat the onion off over medium heat, until it colours (3-4 minutes will be sufficient).
- Next, add the diced tomato into the pan.
- Stir for few seconds.
- Cover the pan with a lid, bring the heat to low and let cook for 10 minutes.
- After 10 minutes remove the lid and add the sugar. At this stage you can also add the tomato purée, if you have chosen to use it. Give it a good stir and simmer on a very gentle heat for 30 minutes. Leave the pan uncovered because during this time the sauce has to be brought to the right consistency (a thin sauce will not coat the pasta properly!).
- 10 minutes before the finish, taste the sauce and season with salt according to taste.
- 2 minutes before the finish, add the basil leaves.
- Give the sauce a final sir.
- When the 30 minuets cooking time has elapsed, remove the pan from the heat. Finish the sauce by adding a dash of olive oil and use the sauce for whatever dish you have planned to prepare. If you decide not to use the sauce straightaway, but to freeze it, then don’t add the olive oil at the end. Just freeze the sauce and the day you decide to use it, after re-warming it in the pan, add the dash of olive oil.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
Living in the EU with lots of italians at our bi-weekly farmer’s market, I am confused by this recipe. The lady who makes heavenly fresh pasta on Wednesdays and who makes her own, also heavenly, sugo, says the secret is to cook the sauce for hours… the longer the better. I tried this recipe and will go back to the long-cook method.
Loved the way it turned out. Pure and fresh tasting. It’s orange and looks authentic to the sauces made in Italy. Not red, like most bottled sauces. I used extra basil leaves and added minced garlic to the onions.
Thank you Janet!