Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Basic tomato sauce, yum!

At my fiancée’s request, I made some “Italian pasta sauce”.  Since I’m a big fan of Chef John, I searched his blog for a basic tomato sauce . . . and as always, the man delivered.  I compared his recipe to the other two I have tried before, and of course, it’s like comparing dry apple pie to orange zest infused cobbler.  What, to lame of an analogy?

Unfortunately, I was NOT able to get my hands on neither the main ingredient (San Marzano tomatoes) nor the secret ingredient (anchovy paste).  I drove all over town looking for the tomatoes and paste, and nothing.  Giant, Safeway, Trader Joes, you all suck!

Fortunately, however, the sauce tasted great despite my substitution and omission.  I used regular canned tomatoes as the main ingredient instead of canned marzanos.  And since I was already replacing the star of the show, I figured it was ok to not even bother with the anchovy paste.  Also, I used 5 leaves of fresh basil from my garden even though the recipe did not call for any. I have so much basil in the garden, I’ll put it in anything.  One more thing, since I prefer my sauce chunky, I didn’t mash it to a paste as recommended.

So I used:
  • 2 cans (28-oz each) whole peeled tomatoes (the regular cheap-brand)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 white onion, diced
  • 1 tsp dried celery (I didn’t have the fresh celery it called for)
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp dried Italian herbs
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp white wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp chopped Italian parsley
  • 1 Tbsp tomato paste
  • water as needed
The sauce was damn good, despite my use of “generic” tomatoes and no secret ingredient.  But because I’m dying to taste anchovy paste, I am driving 20 miles today to my nearest Wegmans to get it and try the recipe one more time.  I’m glad I made it this way first because now I have something to compare it to. 

Here is the video for making this sauce.

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