Secrets of the tomato sauce that makes Italians blush

Secrets of the tomato sauce that makes Italians blush

A sauce with soothing aromas and flowers, what could be better in early autumn. How to make the perfect tomato sauce? Genoese Alessandra Pierini, head of the Parisian delicacy RAP, reveals her secrets.

Passata, soffritto, sugo or even salsa… There are many names that are reminiscent of what we French think of as a simple tomato sauce. This elixir is the basis of many Italian dishes, especially the southern one, where fruits grow in the sun. It can be rejected in dozens of different ways depending on usage and region, but with some hard and fast rules. Alessandra Pierini, biscuit and manager of Parisian RAP gourmet shop, shares her grandmother’s secrets to making a tomato sauce worthy of the name.

Read also” Our 12 Recipes to Gently Enjoy Autumn

Fresh tomatoes, canned, sauce?

Don’t avoid canning like the plague. The specialist assures him from the very beginning: “The sauce will always turn out better from a good canned tomato than from a bought fresh bad one.” If it was harvested in high season and canned, then the jam will remain a good product that will retain flavors and texture. Italians have a habit of making their own jams between June and September to taste tomatoes winter is always full of flavors.

At the same time, “nothing prevents you from making a sauce just from whole tomatoes, San Marzano.” (an elongated variety from southern Italy, which can be found on the market, approx. ed.) crushed with a fork, or with cherry tomatoes and a little olive oil,” adds Alessandra Pierini. They also allow you to radically change the taste and consistency of the sauce.

On the other hand, the concentrate is never used in Italy as a base for a sauce, other than a teaspoon to make a remedy, or as a seasoning to bring out the color, and in small doses.

Bunch of San Marzano tomatoes. Getty Images

Order and ingredients

The order in which the ingredients are integrated is important to the marketing of the drug. As such, the Italian recommends “always sauté olive oil with garlic or onions (if you choose to use it in your sauce) before the tomatoes to make them translucent.” Be careful, carefully monitor the cooking so as not to set fire to them, which will give a bitter and unpleasant taste to the sauce. Finally, aromatic herbs are added at the end of cooking to take full advantage of their freshness.

cooking time

It all depends on the consistency you want to get. The longer the boil, the more concentrated the flavors will be, similar to evaporated or even candied juice. This way of cooking ingredients is typical of northern Italian recipes; as soffit, for which diced or canned tomatoes are ideal, which cook for the longest possible time. Conversely, the shorter the cooking time, the thinner the sauce will be, retaining the slightly tangier flavor of the plain tomato.

Good to know : the tomato is chosen according to the desired cooking. For quick cooking, choose a variety del Pegnolo del Vesuvio. This storage variety is harvested in July, then stored in hanging clusters of 1 or 2 kg and used when it is no longer on the market, from September to April. For a sauce that does justice to this exceptional ingredient, sauté the flesh with lightly flavored olive oil.

For longer cooking in coolies, canned San Marzano or any fresh tomatoes will do. Indeed, with the addition of soffit such ingredients as onions, celery, carrots, as well as sugar and spices, the aromatic profile of the main product will in any case be distorted.

Container selection

The type of pan is chosen depending on the desired texture. For a less sugary sauce that cooks quickly and is perfect for sautéing pasta after cooking, use a wide skillet over medium heat. If you want to simmer and have a rich sauce (for use in lasagna, among other things), canned pelati is perfect for soffittake a medium saucepan with a thick bottom, and we will make the cooking half open.

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Recipe from the south of Rome

Put two cloves of crushed garlic in a frying pan, fry them in olive oil. Add 500g diced, coulis, canned or fresh tomatoes and a few grains of salt and pepper, then cook quickly over medium heat, usually while the pasta is cooking (usually 10-15 minutes).

The result of the operation is a bright red sauce with a good sheen, which emphasizes fruitiness more. That’s enough sauce for 4 people, and a fairly neutral base for seasoning spaghetti, linguine and penne, cooking eggplant or fish sauce…

Traditional and original options

A sauce traditionally made in the south of Rome, or “Sugo al tomato”, most often serves as the base. Having mastered it, here’s how to decorate it a little more.

All’arrabiata sauce (chili, garlic, olive oil), literally “mad sauce”, spicy versionhello and olio (garlic and olive oil), quick cooking, is one of the most basic sauces in which we simply add chili peppers for more vigor.

puttanesca (olives, capers, anchovies), no less tasty, can be prepared with salted anchovy fillets, capers in brine and pitted olives, ideal with spaghetti al dente.

Pizza sauce probably the one we eat most often, with fresh or dried oregano, which can be used to make thin veal patties and is mainly used as a pizza base.

tomato jam it is a sweet option for roasts and aged cheeses and can be prepared in many different ways depending on the desired ratio of sugar and acidity.

Onion varieties can also change the taste of the sauce: red onion, for example, will make it sweeter. Also possibleadd vinegar to get a more concentrated, more acidic version approaching ketchup for use with meat. Depending on the region, Italians add many different vegetables, such as zucchini or peppers. More surprisingly, in northern Italy, you can even add butter instead of olive oil to make the sauce even richer and more tender.