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How do you make a tomato based pasta sauce?

Note that I do not like canned tomato sauce. I think it's the strong concentrated tomato paste and the oregano inside it that makes me strongly dislike it, so a tomato based sauce that doesn't have that taste would be great. Also the simpler the better because I'm and idiot when it comes to cooking.

asked by Nicolas 7 months ago
14 answers 782 views
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added 7 months ago

Nicolas, I agree with you. I wouldn't dare to eat any prepared canned tomato sauce with added flavours. When I buy tomato sauce I always make sure it has NATURE written on the label. I agree with Susan W, San Marzano tomatoes are the best, and if you buy them whole you will have to cook the tomato sauce a bit longer.

The way Italian cook their tomato sauce is very simple:
-with 2 table spoons of olive oil stir fry 2 garlic cloves ( do not burn them)
-if you like strong garlic flavour leave them in the pan, if not remove them
-put in the NATURE tomato sauce, or whole canned San Marzano, or fresh matured long tomatoes
-you can easily peel fresh tomatoes by trowing them in boiling water for 1 minute
-add 1 tsp of salt and if the tomato are too acidic add 1/2 tsp of sugar
-if you like add 3 leaves of fresh basil
-Simmer for 10 minutes if you are using Nature tomato sauce, for 30 minutes or more if you are using fresh tomatoes
Cover the pan otherwise you will be bombarded by hot boiling tomatoes bullets
Done !

The key to a good sauce is good tomatoes, so choose them carefully

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added 7 months ago

When it isn't tomato season I like to make tomato sauce with cherry/grape tomatoes because they are usually the highest quality/most consistent hothouse variety available near me. I know some people have a problem with the little bits of skin this results in (but the skin is where most of the fiber and glutamates are). If you prefer skinless, I also like the Pomi brand boxed tomatoes.

I usually follow the same basic process as YGC above, using onions or shallots instead of garlic sometimes. Dried oregano and/or fresh rosemary add a deeper flavor than basil, you can also add a splash of wine, pinch of sugar, paprika, balsamic vinegar, etc. Practice the basic recipe then figure out which aromatics and add-ins you prefer.

(Also, sometimes, if I have extra time I bake my sauce. It concentrates the flavor in a sweeter way without sugar and needs less cleaning-up afterwards. htpp://www.myfriendmaillard.com)

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added 7 months ago

If you want to make sauce with cherry tomatoes, which I wouldn't really recommend, the skins are easily removed with a food mill.

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pierino

pierino is a trusted source on General Cooking and Tough Love.

added 7 months ago

Oreta di Vita, who is to Roman cooking what Marcela Hazan was to Venetian, use cherry tomatoes (pomodorini) with the skin on. Unless you're fussy about the skin they are best when they are barely cooked. Di Vita wants you to taste tomato. In one of her recipes the cherry tomatoes are halved, salted and tossed with basil and left to marinade for an hour. Hot pasta is then added. They are also good with small clams.

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added 7 months ago

I often make sauce with cherry tomatoes (with the skin), stir frying some onions and adding plenty of basil. I serve them with a chunky pasta like Orecchiette o Gnocchetti Sardi. If I have been to the fishmonger I add shrimps or scallops.

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sexyLAMBCHOPx

Chops is a trusted home cook.

added 7 months ago

If you're looking for a basic red sauce (marinara) this recipe is a good one: http://cooking.nytimes...

Once you've made it it's easy to adapt to suit your tastes and freezes very well.

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AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

added 7 months ago

I use Cento San Marzano tomatoes in the "Genius" Ina Garten roasted tomato vodka sauce and in the "Genius" Marcella Hazan tomato + onion + butter sauce, both here on Food52. In fact, I make double batches and stock my freezer with both, replenishing *before* the last container is used. They are that good. First rate, highly recommended.
Incidentally, I find the Cento tomatoes far superior for making sauce than virtually all of the fresh tomatoes we get in Northern CA. Just saying . . . . ;o)

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added 7 months ago

You pretty much have to grow your own (or know someone who does) to get a good tomato anymore- the stores are hopeless, and even at the farmer's market they are generally picked pretty green.