Sunday, November 30, 2008

Guest post by Ella: Italian tomato sauce

This simple and tasty sauce is a staple in Europe. Everyone has their own little spin on it and you’ll see that it’s just so much better than store-bought tomato sauce.

green onions or white onion
two cans of chopped tomatoes
bouillion cubes
olive oil
bay leaf

Cut up one to two small green onions (or one large, sweet white onion) and sauté over medium-high heat in a pot drizzled with one tablespoon of olive oil. Sauté for about 10 minutes until the onions turn clear. To make sure the onions are done — try a little piece, it should be sweet.

Finely mince one to two cloves of garlic (depending on how garlicky you like your sauce). Add to the onions and sauté for about two minutes.

Add two small cans of chopped tomatoes (or one large can). Make sure you buy good-quality tomatoes, such as the San Marzano brand.

Stir and add:

1/2 to one bouillion cube, depending on cube size (beef is best but vegetable or chicken works just as well)
1 bay leaf
pinch of salt
pinch of pepper
1 teaspoon sugar (you may not need as much sugar if your onions and tomatoes are very sweet)
1 tsp dried oregano (you can add more or less)
1 tsp dried basil (you can add more or less)

Turn the heat down to low and simmer with the lid on for about 30 minutes. Stir every few minutes and remove the bay leaf when the sauce is done.

This makes a great and simple sauce for pasta! Serve the sauce with some fresh basil and parmesan cheese.


Vodka sauce:

Add 1/2 cup cream and 1/8 cup vodka (optional) at the end. Simmer for two minutes.

Cream and herb sauce:

Add one teaspoon of herbes de Provence with the basil and oregano. At the end, add chopped basil and 1/2 cup of cream. Simmer for two minutes.

Chorizo, mushroom and red wine sauce:
Halfway through the cooking of the onions, add two finely chopped chorizo sausages and one cup of finely chopped mushrooms. Add in a few drops of hot sauce or chilli peppers and 1/4 cup of dry red wine when adding the other spices.


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