How to Make Tomato Sauce

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 22,461
    Chef Amy Riolo demonstrates how to make tomato sauce.

    Amy Riolo: Hi! I am Amy Riolo. Today, I am working in the kitchen at Sur La Table in Arlington, Virginia. We are making Whole Wheat Penne with Tomato Eggplant Sauce. In this segment, I am going to show you how to make the tomato eggplant sauce. I am going to turn on fire on to low heat over our saucepan and then I am going to add a few tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil. This you can really add to your taste. You can add a little bit more or a little bit less, doesn't have to be exact. Our recipe today makes enough for 4 people but I am doubling the quantity, so that I can feed 8. I am just coating the olive oil on the bottom of the pan. Then I am going to add our 2 cloves of garlic that have been finely chopped. Garlic is great because it has so many antibiotic properties to it. It's very, very healthy and it's a good thing to add into most of your recipes. In this recipe, the 2 cloves give us just enough flavor. So what we can see in here now is the garlic is starting to cook, just trying to simmer a little bit. I want to add my tomatoes just as the garlic starts to release its aroma. If you wait for the garlic to get golden brown, it's really going to be bitter in the sauce and it's going to change the overall taste of the sauce. That's not what we want, we just want a nice, light garlicky perfume. I can start to smell it right now. So I am going to add my tomatoes in. I am going to keep my heat on low.

    Now this is tomato puree and tomato puree comes in cans or in jars now, or in boxes. You have to really pay attention and look at the different kinds of tomato puree that you get, if you are concerned about wellness because the sodium content in the canned variety will change quite a bit from the other varieties. The boxed varieties and the jars usually don't have even half the amount of sodium that the cans do. So really if you are watching your sodium intake, be cognizant of that and make sure that you are buying the proper tomato puree to fit your lifestyle.

    So now I have stirred everything together, I am starting to smell a little bit of that tomato aroma. I am adding a little bit of our kosher salt, and of course, the salt is to taste. This is going to depend upon what brand or on what kind of tomato puree you bought. So in the beginning I will just add a little bit in for our cooking and then I am going to add some crushed red pepper flakes. The red pepper flakes, now, you can find in their own mills. These are great because these will just crush the red pepper flakes as you go, making them finer. As you crush them, they release some more of their heat and they really warm up the dish well.

    Now I am going to add our basil and you can add about 3 large leaves of basil here. I am just going to break them up with my hand. If you tear them in your hand, all of the essential oils in the basil goes into your hand and into your dish. Basil is great not only for its great smell and great taste that we all love, but it also has a lot of calming properties and it even cures things, like car-sickness and nausea, morning sickness, things like that. So it's a nice thing to have on hand and have handy in your garden. Now I am going to add freshly ground black pepper, just a little bit. I am going to stir all of those in together. Now I am going to increase my heat to medium-high. I am just going to let this come to a boil. The great thing about this sauce is it's a nice, quick sauce. You can start this and then start your pasta. By the time your pasta is done, you will have a delicious sauce. Now there we go, it's come up and I can just put the lid on. I am going to turn the heat down to simmer or low, one of the two and I will let this simmer for about 10 minutes.

    Now I am going to show you how to make our whole wheat pasta. I have picked some whole wheat penne pasta from Harris Teeter. This is the HT traders brand. I am going to use it today because whole wheat pasta has about 7 grams of protein in it, which is a little bit more than regular white pasta. It also has more fiber and it's a whole wheat, so it's better for us.

    You can see here the color is a little bit darker of the actual pasta itself. Penne just means pen in Italian and the pasta was shaped like this because the old fashioned quill pen used to look like this. So this where they get the name for penne. Regate means ridged or lined or striped in Italian and you could see the pasta has the little stripes in it. These are known as being the epicurean pasta in Italy. Any shape that has the lines in it is preferred by chefs because it holds the sauce more.

    What I have got is a pot of boiling water and then I am going to add salt to it. Don't add your salt until this point because it will change the boiling point of your temperature. If you change the boiling point, then that changes the consistency in your pasta and your overall dish. We want this to be nice and firm and al dente.

    So I am adding a whole pound in here. Our recipe calls for a half but remember, I am doubling today, so that we can make this for more people. So I have got our pasta and then I am just going to stir it really well to coat. I don't like to add olive oil because if you add olive oil, it adds a little bit of a film and a coating to the pasta and this prevents the sauce from sticking to it. If you are making a pasta salad or something like that where you are going to use a cold application for pasta, the oil is great, but if you ever want your sauce to stick, then you should not use oil. I am just going to stir this around here and I am going to keep it on medium-high heat. We will bring it back up to a boil and we will continue stirring it every now and then, just so that the pasta doesn't stick together. After about 8 or 9 minutes when the pasta is still a little bit firm, that's when we are going to drain it.

    Remember, pasta has a little bit of carryover time. So if you cook it until the point when you think it tastes absolutely perfect like you want to eat it, by the time that you drain it, it's going to be too tender and too mushy. So you want to get it just a little bit before that, when it's a little bit too crunchy but it's almost there, firm to the bite al dente, that's what you want. So we can see our pasta boiling and I am just going to let it go until it's ready to drain. In the next segment, I am going to show you how to chop our eggplant and add it to our tomato sauce. We will finish off our tomato eggplant sauce.