I always keep pasta ready in the cupboards for times I don’t feel like running to the market for food. Not only is it inexpensive, it is also quick to make and lasts forever. Being of Italian decent I would be disowned if I ever considered using premade sauces. The great thing about tomato sauce is that it can be easily made from ingredients which also have long shelf lives. Adding a few fresh ingredients to the mix, whatever you can find in your fridge, allows for a different experience every time.
A good tomato sauce for me always starts with sauteed garlic and onions. It doesn’t matter what onions you use. Tonight I used shallots because that is what I had. It is more of a French ingredient but I don’t think anyone was looking.
I also had some large portobello mushrooms which I use for grilling. Simply slicing them up made them ready for the pan. If you wanted to you could brown up some sausage or other meats at this point. Even some anchovies would really spice things up. I kept things simple and just sauteed the vegetables in butter and added a little olive oil later.
This is the point you want to add your salt and pepper. You can always add more later but the salt draws out the liquids, and hences the flavor from the veggies, leaving them like sponges to soak up all of the flavors that end up mingling with one another.
Once they are sauteed up, and the meat browned if you used any, it is time to deglaze the pan and get any of the flavors that have been sitting on the bottom. If you are browning fatty meats you might want to drain some of the grease out of the pan before going to deglaze. I usually use an acidic liquid to deglaze – lemon juice, tomato juice (from the can of tomatoes you are using not V-8), vinegar, or my favorite, a nice table wine. You can also use water if you want. I used some Fallegro Favorita, a white wine from the Piedmont area of Italy that I happen to have a case of. Any white wine you like will do. Just add a bit to taste, stir and let the alcohol boil away.
The next step is adding the tomatoes. What tomatoes you use is all dependent on what you have around and what is in season. Since I was making a quick sauce I decided to try the canned, diced tomatoes I had in the cupboard. To spice things up a bit more I decided to use the one with jalapeno peppers in it. Another way to spice up tomato sauce is adding some red pepper flakes but the jalapenos gave it a different dimension. If you have time I suggest using canned plum tomatoes and dicing some fresh tomatoes to be added right before taking the sauce off the heat. That gives it a bit more of a fresh taste and a better texture. You can also add fresh herbs like basil or oregano at this point but I didn’t have any and I really don’t like the dried variety in my sauces. The one thing I will do next time is cut the can of tomatoes and jalapeno with a can of regular tomatoes just to bring the heat down a bit. It tasted awesome but was just a bit too hot.
At this point if you like what you got it is ready to serve but I personally like my sauces a bit thicker. You can get the sauce somewhat thicker by simply keeping it on the heat for longer and reducing the liquid. You can also do what I do and add a bit of tomato paste. The more you add the thicker it gets but watch out because too much paste will ruin the texture. It also changes the taste somewhat.
Taste you sauce when you are done and add some more salt and pepper if needed. Put on top of pasta and you have a meal. Next time just switch up some ingredients and you will have a whole new sauce. It is really hard to get wrong and believe me will be a hundred times better than anything you can get in the pasta sauce isle of your local grocery store.[read this post in: ar de es fr it ja ko pt ru zh-CN ]