Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Rouxbe Recipe: Basic Tomato Sauce

My first recipe that I created using Rouxbe was basic tomato sauce. I am kinda familiar with the 5 mother sauces of classic cooking but I have only every made a very basic Bechamel while making Mac & Cheese. The 5 classic mother sauces are traditionally the building blocks of which all other sauces can be made.

They are:
  • Bechamel 
  • Veloute
  •  Espagnole
  • Hollandaise
And...... Tomato Sauce! 

Tomato sauce is actually quite simple to make. It contains only a few simple ingredients, the secret is cooking it low and slow to give it time for the flavors to meld. The end product is something that is so far beyond jarred grocery tomato sauce that I don't even know if they should be considered the same thing. This sauce actually tastes like fresh tomatoes, I know crazy right!?

The secret of this sauce is the kind of tomatoes you use. Now I never really knew anything about the differences between canned tomatoes but apparently there are many!!! This recipe calls for 4 cans of whole San Marzeno tomatoes. These lil beauties are grown only in a remote area of Italy which turn out these special variety of tomatoes because of the "volcanic" quality of the soil (the Valle del Sarno is right near Mount Vesuvius). They are especially canned with a DOP label on the can which denotes that they are authentic San Marzeno tomatoes. Apparently in 2010 the Italian government confiscated about 1,400 TONS of "counterfeit" tomatoes (are you serious?) 

Now I know what you're thinking, "do you really expect me to drive hours out of my way to a teeny tiny little Italian gorcery store which is probably run by the mafia to spend probably crazy amounts of money on canned tomatoes?" Yes the tomatoes are a little steeply priced (I paid about $3.50 for a 28oz can) but I found them easily at the Supermarket down the street from my apartment. 

Now if you even THINK about using cheap-o whole tomatoes you just stop right there missy! Ok I'm just kidding, really any brand of whole tomatoes will turn out a great sauce, but the use of San Marzanos  will turn the sauce into something really spectacular! 

This recipe actually makes enough to feed my little family of 2 for several pasta nights and I can still save some for pizza, chicken parm, to dip mozzarella sticks, whatever! 

classic Rouxbe Recipes

  1. 4 28 oz cans San Marzano tomatoes
  2. 1/2 medium Onion
  3. 4 large cloves of Garlic
  4. 1 5.5oz can tomato paste
  5. 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  6. Pinch of sea salt and black pepper
  7. 8 fresh basil leaves, chopped
  8. 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 

Finely mince the onion and thinly slice the garlic. De-seed the tomatoes by hand using a mesh strainer or a food mill, reserving the liquid.

To start, heat a heavy bottomed pan over medium heat


 Heat Olive oil and add the onions, cooking for a few minutes until the onions become softened and turn a light golden color, next add the garlic and cook until they are fragrant about 1 minute. Next add the tomato paste and cook until the tomato paste darkens, stirring frequently

Add the tomatoes

Add a good pinch of salt and bring to simmer 
(simmer means you should see it bubble about once every 2-3 seconds)

Cook, uncovered for about 45 minutes

Then it should look like this...

Add the basil (you can chop with a knife or rip it by hand for a more rustic feel) and salt and pepper to taste. You can add an additional splash of olive oil too if desired.

I have used this to make chicken Parm and served it over fresh pasta. Next week I'm going to try and doctor the base sauce with sausage and peppers to serve with pasta. The rest I froze in Ziplock bags

My First Success!!!

See you in the Kitchen,

Little Rhody Girl