HOW TO MAKE A TRADITIONAL ITALIAN TOMATO SAUCE





There are many tomato sauces that claim to be 'traditional' in origin. Of course, adding the word 'Italian' will not always guarantee its authenticity, but it will summon images of the Tuscan countryside - which in many respects is good enough.

As is the way, some tomato sauce recipes are oversimplified while others are overly and often unnecessarily complicated.

However, we are in luck. The recipe below has been handed down through word of mouth in the family of an Italian colleague of mine. He (Gino) swears that it comes directly from his grandmother, and she has never left the home country.

Unfortunately, is has taken me over a week of persuasion to obtain the recipe and as it was never written down there are no measurements. This means that you will have to 'feel' the mixture of flavours until it returns the authentic taste. Of course, the varieties and quality of ingredients will also make a big difference here so it is not so much about making the sauce but more like 'living' the source!

There are some clues however:

Smaller tomatoes will return a stronger flavour compared to larger traditional 'beefsteak or plum varieties.

Roasting the tomatoes first boiling them down will also return a more 'tomatoey' flavour.
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SERVES BETWEEN 4 AND 8 DEPENDING ON DISH

INGREDIENTS

Tomatoes - probably around 1 kg
Garlic – between 2 and 8 cloves depending on your personal taste - peeled and crushed
1 x large onion - roughly cut
Black olives - if you like cooked olives - try between 1 or 2 dozen, cubed
Glass of red wine - preferable, but not necessary
Rosemary
Basil
Olive oil – 2 x tablespoons full, and not extra virgin
Salt and pepper
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EQUIPMENT

1 x large saucepan
1 x small saucepan
1 x colander/sieve
1 x bowl of cold water
1 x potato masher

To begin with, boil up a large pan of water. Place the tomatoes into the sieve and gently lower both tomatoes and sieve into the pan of boiling water. Leave them there until the peel starts to come away from the body of the tomato which should be no more and a minute or so. Lower the sieve of tomatoes into the bowl of cold water so that you can quickly take the heat out of them before the tiresome job of peeling them.

Empty the boiling water out of the large saucepan and replace it with the peeled tomatoes. Heat up the tomatoes then simmer for between 5-8 minutes.

While the tomatoes are simmering, place the small saucepan on the hob, and add the olive oil. Keeping the pan on a low heat, add the garlic and the onion. Allow them to sweat for a few minutes before taking the pan off the heat.
When they are ready, mash the tomatoes down using a potato masher then drain off any excess water. Pour in the red wine, then add to the small saucepan containing the garlic. Simmer for a further 10 minutes. While this is cooking, add the rosemary, basil salt and pepper. Regularly taste check and adjust the seasoning accordingly.

For related articles click onto the following links:
BUY TOMATO 'GIGANTOMO' - 8 Seeds
HOW TO GROW TOMATOES
HOW TO GROW TOMATOES IN POTS
HOW TO MAKE A TRADITIONAL ITALIAN TOMATO SAUCE
RECIPE FOR TRADITIONAL ITALIAN ICE CREAM
SPAGHETTI BOLOGNESE RECIPE

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