25 August 2009
What you didn’t know about true Italian tomato sauce…..
Marisa, the concierge in my office building, is a wealth of knowledge when it comes to Italian cooking. Born and raised in the small village of Zogno, 4km from San Pellegrino, she grew up with the transitional values of simple & delicious hands on cooking.
At the end of the day when my job is ending and hers is starting, we often spend some time chatting about recipes. She told me that for Italians, the true way of making tomato sauce is with either onions or garlic but never both together. The tomatoes should be very ripe, as that is where the taste comes from and will make or break your sauce. Removing the skin is also essential, as is a generous quantity of fresh basil and hand chopped garlic.
Marisa feels that people either do not know or have forgotten the real taste of vegetables . They are so overly exposed to the hot house variety, that they wouldn’t know a real, earth grown tomato if it jumped up and bit them.
When she went back to Italy as an expat to visit her relatives they were sure she had fallen into this sad, taste bud challenged group. So they organised a trap. Two tomato salads were made – one with hot house tomatoes grown in water, and the other, with tomatoes grown in the earth, under the Italian sun as nature intended. Unaware of the plot, Marisa was served the first salad, to which she replied ‘there is something wrong with theses tomatoes’ – winning the hearts & minds of her family, who proudly gave her the real home grown salad to which she replied ‘now these are tomatoes!’ The family honour was saved.
RECIPE for my homemade pasta recipe: Click HERE!!
Recette en FRANCAIS : ici
(Easy tomato sauce for two people)
- 8 tomatoes
- 2 garlic cloves
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 laurel (bay) leaf
- 2 tablespoons dry white wine (optional)
- salt & pepper
- Fresh basil leaves (approx. 20 leaves)
- Finely hand chop the garlic and set aside (Marisa said not to use the garlic mincer!)
- Prepare the tomatoes. To remove the tomato skins, using a sharp knife make a cross on the bottom of each tomato & drop them into boiling water for max. 2 minutes until the skin starts peeling. Peel off the skin. Chop the tomatoes into small chunks.
- Heat the oil on low, add garlic & bay leaf. Simmer for a few minutes.
- Add the white wine, cook for 1 minute.
- Add the chopped tomatoes, salt & pepper and cook / simmer on low heat for 20-30 mins until most of the excess water has evaporated
- Finely chop the basil and stir into the cooked sauce.