Tomato sauce is one of the easiest, most delicious ways to make use of summer’s harvest of tomatoes. The classic red sauce, made with tomatoes, onion, garlic, and oregano, is so versatile that it can be used in so many other dishes. The following recipe for tomato sauce is a simple one that shows the versatility of this simple ingredient. With just a few ingredients, you can make a classic sauce that will be loved by everyone in your household. For best results, use ripe, vine-ripe tomatoes.
If you’re new to Italian cuisine, check out the rest of our Italian recipes collection. From classic pasta dishes to meatballs, onion rings, and even dessert, there’s something for everyone.
What is tomato sauce?
Tomato sauce is the classic seasoning for many Italian dishes, including pasta and pizza. Like ketchup, it’s often thought of as a condiment for hamburgers, hot dogs, and other American-style foods. But tomatoes also play a central role in Italian cuisine.
While tomatoes are native to Central America and North America, they were first cultivated in Italy. In Italy, they are second in importance only to watermelons and cucumbers.
Some popular types of tomato sauce include pesto sauce and tomato sauce alla Barese, a sauce typical of Sicily. Both are thick, sweet, and full of flavor. Like all things Italian, they are best when made with the best quality ingredients.
The Best Tomato Sauce: Steps and ingredients
The traditional method for making tomato sauce involves long, slow cooking. This method is classic and produces great results, but it can be difficult for beginners and those who are short on time.
If you want a quick and easy sauce that’s just as good, you can reduce the cooking time significantly. Another bonus? It’s a one-pot recipe!
Mince the onion and garlic and sauté until fragrant. The onion will release liquid as it cooks, which will evaporate and leave behind only the onions and garlic.
Next, dice the tomatoes and add them to the onion and garlic. Simmer the sauce until the tomatoes have broken down and formed a sauce.
From best to worst, how to choose tomatoes for sauce
There are two things you need to keep in mind when choosing tomatoes for sauce. First, make sure they’re ripe. Ripe tomatoes are sweet and yellow, with a soft texture and few seeds. They will not taste as sweet once cooked, but they will have a more complex flavor than under-ripe tomatoes. Second, select firm, North American, or European tomatoes. These are generally the best for sauce, as they have a higher sugar content than other varieties.
When you want to start making tomato sauce, it’s important to have a large amount of tomatoes. You can use any variety, but make sure you have enough for sauce. Also, be sure to keep them from getting ripe on their own.
The best quality olive oil for sauce
If you want to get the best results from the olive oil, it must be extra virgin. Extra virgin olive oil has a fruity and salty taste that is most evident when it’s fresh. Once it’s been bottled and sealed, the salts in the oil can leach out and leave behind a flavor that is too strong and bitter for certain foods.
Olive oil that has been stored improperly, however, will have these salts that can ruin a dish. The best way to avoid this is by buying oil in a sealed container with a seal that is intact.
Final ingredients: anchovies, garlic, and oregano
If you want to make the best tomato sauce, you don’t have to do it without these ingredients. Anchovies are an essential part of many classic Italian dishes. They add a salty, savory flavor that is perfect in tomato sauce.
However, they are not a great choice for everyone. If you have a seafood allergy or sensitivity, they can be very harmful.
In order to avoid accidentally eating anchovies, you can use the salt-free version of the seasoning. In addition, you can also use the next best thing for these ingredients. Italian seasoning contains oregano, garlic, and salt, so you can still get the great Italian flavor without harming your health.
Tips for making the best Italian tomato sauce
- Use ripe, vine-ripe tomatoes. Ripe tomatoes are sweet and yellow, with a soft texture and few seeds. They will not taste as sweet once cooked, but they will have a more complex flavor than under-ripe tomatoes.
- Select firm, North American, or European tomatoes. These are generally the best for sauce, as they have a higher sugar content than other varieties.
- Don’t use canned tomatoes. Vine-ripe tomatoes should be used for the best tomato sauce.
- Don’t over-salte. Too much salt will ruin your sauce and leave a bitter aftertaste.
- Don’t let the sauce burn. Place a lid on the pot when cooking to reduce the risk of breaking the sauce.