Italian Sauces – Tomato Sauce

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 54,287
    Chef Amy Riolo demonstrates how to make italian tomato sauce.

    Amy Riolo: Hi, I am Amy Riolo. Today, we are making homemade italian Tomato Sauce. The first ingredient that we will be using is a pound and a half of strained tomatoes. Strained tomatoes are known as Passate Di Pomodoro in Italian and they come in two variety. If you are in the US you can get them imported in a glass jar or in a little box and I really prefer to use both of these kinds of tomato, strained tomatoes or tomato puree because they don't have any preservatives in them or no added salt or artificial flavors. So they are really good. It's just an authentic tomato pure flavor that is great for this sauce.

    We will also be using a little bit of salt and pepper, 4-5 basil leaves, two tablespoons minced garlic and two tablespoons extra virgin olive oil and to get started making the tomato sauce, the first thing that we are going to use is our two pieces of equipment. The only thing we will have is a medium saucepan and a wooden spoon and make sure that the saucepan has a fitting lid. That's all that we need and we can get started by putting our pan on over low heat and then we are going to add our olive oil and as soon as the olive is hot, we can start adding our garlic. You can kind of tell when the olive oil is ready, because it starts to coat the bottom of the pan and it starts to get a little bit of a ripple effect and you also start to smell a little bit of the aroma. That's how we know that our olive oil is ready.

    We don't want to heat the pan in advance and get the olive oil really hot for this because we want to allow the garlic flavor to come out slowly. So this is ready. This is what the hot oil looks like and we can add our garlic and then we will just start to stir on for a minute. It's really important when you make tomato sauces to be careful not to burn the garlic or not to let the garlic have any brown color because what happens when the garlic turns brown, it tends to get very acrid and it has an acidic taste that you don't want in your sauce. You want your sauce to be nice and fresh and bright and even a little bit sweet. So you don't want to let the garlic get brown for these particular types of Italian sauces.

    The first thing when you make the sauces you will hear the garlic start to sizzle and then about three seconds after it starts to sizzle, you will start to smell the aroma of your garlic. As soon as you smell the aroma and this is what it looks like at that stage. I am showing you the garlic is still white but you can smell the aroma and that is when you are going to add your tomatoes before they get a chance to turn brown. So these are our strained tomatoes again, you can do this with fresh tomatoes. If you are lucky to have really good flavored fresh tomatoes in season, you can just drop them into boiling water for one minute. Their skins will start to peel and then you can peel -- you can put them in cold water, drain them, peel them and put them to a food mill to get the same kind of consistency that we are using with this Passate Di Pomodoro or Strained Pomodoro as that we are using.

    We will add a little bit of salt. As much as you need to taste. Everybody is different and also each kind of tomato is different and then a few turns of fresh, freshly ground pepper and we are just going to stir everything in together and then we are going to add some fresh basil and these are about 4-5 fresh basil leaves and you can just tear these roughly in your hand. They don't need to be minced. Some people say that it's better to actually do it in your hand because the all of the oil, the essential oils from the basil go right into the sauce and not on to a cutting board and basil has a nice sweet flavor. So whenever you use it a sauce like this, it really makes the sauce have a sweet flavor and just the right amount of seasoning and that's all that you need. But you have to make sure that the basil is good and that if in season. In the winter, it's hard to get good fresh basil. So what you want to do then is the substitute Italian Parsley. It's absolutely fine.

    You may need to add a little bit of pinch of sugar in with your sauce but if you follow this method, you will be guaranteed success every time and this is something that's every one does in Italy all of the time. This is the sauce that you can use at the base for pizza. You can use it for Chicken Parmesan or for Eggplant Parmesan and I make it in double, triple and even quadruple batches and then I freeze it and so later on I have sauce one time a week for the whole month. If you want to use it on Pasta or if you want to use it in one of the other recipes and we will also going to be making another recipe with this sauce, the pink sauce with Arugula using this as a base and now as you can see our sauce is starting to boil around the edges and just when it get to this point we want to stir it one last time and we want to put the lid on and we will turn it down to a simmer or low and we are going to let it simmer for about 15-20 minutes until it gets nice and thick and then it will be ready to use and to add to our pasta.

    So now we get to see what our homemade italian tomato sauce looks like when it's done and it really condensed down. You can see it's about a half of its original volume and we will just stirred up together. Always be sure when you stir sauces or anything that you have allowed to simmer then you really scrape the sides of the pan and get that in there because that's the best flavor it's where all of that different taste condense on to the side. It's really really great and adds a lot of richness to the sauce. So overlook that part as you are stirring and so this is our finished product of our basic tomato sauce and you can do so many things with the sauce. You can cool it and freeze it. It will last in the freezer for up to three months and then you can defrost it in the refrigerator and use it any time you like. You can add other vegetables into like artichokes, peas, spinach, broccoli and let it cook for about ten more minutes. It tastes absolutely delicious but what we are going to do with the sauce right now is we are going to make our italian pink sauce with Arugula.