What does "Tomato sauce" mean -- a real marinara? tomato puree? Not a big deal, but I'm curious.

Walter Bode
Chicken Cacciatore
Recipe question for: Chicken Cacciatore


CarlaCooks October 19, 2014
Whenever a recipe calls for tomato sauce, I just blend a tin of tomatoes and dilute with water. I really don't like buying tomato sauce from the store (too much added nastiness).
Walter B. October 17, 2014
Thanks to everyone for your thoughtful responses. Their variety makes me less chagrined about asking the question in the first place. Passata seems the most likely suspect, though, thinking about, I considered what David Burke calls "tomato fondue" in NEW AMERICAN CLASSICS, which is to tomato puree as a Bloody Mary is to tomato juice. I keep batches of it in the freezer for special occasions. Thanks again.
Pegeen October 14, 2014
Good question. I recently had to look up tomato passata again. This link was helpful.

"How is passata different from tomato sauce or tomato paste? Well, both the sauce and paste are cooked tomato products to begin with. Tomato sauce often has other ingredients such as carrots, onions, garlic, etc. And tomato paste is cooked down and much thicker. You would not want to substitute either product if passata is called for in your recipe. If you cannot find it in your store, take plain canned tomatoes and run them through a sieve or a food mill. While most passatas are just plain tomatoes, some are sold with additions, such as basil, so read your label carefully if this is an issue.

Tomato passata can be used in any recipe that calls for tomatoes where it is not important that there be pieces of tomato. You could make a tomato sauce from passato, for example. Or tomato soup. I've seen it added to white beans to make a stew. Indeed, it is a great product for meat-based stews as well."
inpatskitchen October 14, 2014
If I have it on hand, I'll use Marcella Hazan's Tomato Sauce with Onion and Butter. Otherwise, just an 8 ounce can of regular old tomato sauce from the grocery shelf.
Susan W. October 14, 2014
I just recently learned that our plain old tomato sauce doesn't exist everywhere. Somewhere else on the hot line, someone suggested passata as a substitute.
Cav October 14, 2014
Often, when a recipe ingredient is unclear, the context of the recipe (cuisine, method, presentation) can tell you what is really meant. But looking at this recipe, it's still not clear. It's not going to be a Marinara, as that's a seasoned and cooked sauce in and of itself, so should certainly be specified. Tomato Juice is unlikey (but not impossible). It could be Passata, it could be Puree, (it's unlikely to be but it could be Ketchup, as that is known as Tomato Sauce in various parts of the globe).

As the adding the Tomato Sauce step in the recipe doesn't involve frying it off first, I'd go with Passata.
Susan W. October 14, 2014
It's thinner and smoother than tomato puree, but you could certainly use puree in place of it if cans of tomato sauce aren't available where you are. Marinara usually has other ingredients like garlic, onions and herbs and/or spices.
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