Tomato Sauce is a recipe handed down from generation to generation and is the most discussed recipe of Italian gastronomy due to its origins and preparations. Every region of Italy has its own way to prepare it.
The tomatoes came from Central America and took over Europe in the 1500s, used initially as an ornamental plant.
Later in Spain, someone came up with the idea of turning the tomatoes into a sauce, in fact in Italy it was introduced by a chef who worked in Naples who called it “the Spanish sauce” and used it to season meat.
Only in the 1700’s or 1800’s in some books can we start to see the presence of tomatoes in pasta. And just like that, little by little, pasta with tomato sauce became a common delicacy in Italy.
Although it seems like an easy recipe to follow, what is not so easy is how to get the right balance between sweetness and acidity from the tomato itself.
There are several theories on how to remove the acidity of the tomato, including adding a little sugar or better a pinch of bicarbonate (baking soda), the bicarbonate being basic, it dampens the acidity of the tomato. Or some people put carrots.
However the sweetness is also decided by the freshness of the tomatoes, the fresher they are, the less acidity is tasted.
But if you want the perfect sauce, use these tomatoes: the Pachino tomatoes, the Datterino tomatoes, the Pizzuttello or the San Marzano tomatoes.
You can find excellent cherry tomatoes at your local organic farmers market.
The farmers use organic growing practices to produce nutritious and chemical-free vegetables.
The Original Italian Tomato Sauce Recipe
- 1 kg tomatoes 35.3 oz
- ½ medium onion
- a pinch of bicarbonate baking soda
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- Put well-washed tomatoes in a pot (I use terracotta cookware and cook it on a flame that is not too high when they begin to simmer, lower the flame again: cook the tomatoes until they release their liquid.
- Drain the excess water and pass the tomatoes through the passatutto with the disc that has the smaller holes, to obtain a dense sauce.
- Fry the onion with oil and then add the tomato sauce, careful the hot oil can splash and burn you.
- The tomato sauce should be cooked at a low and constant temperature. Add a pinch of bicarbonate, salt as required, and cook.
- Obviously, the cooking time depends on your tastes, but in my opinion tomato sauce should not be over-cooked especially when it’s made with fresh tomatoes.
- As soon as you feel it is cooked, turn off the heat and add some fresh basil leaves and a spoonful of extra-virgin olive oil. Mix and season your pasta.