Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Classic Homemade Tomato Sauce | 自家製意式番茄醬

Supermarkets these days stock an aisle full of pasta sauces, and tomato sauces alone - with the myriad of brands and permutations - make up the bulk of these often overpriced commercial products. Tomato sauces are infinitely useful in Italian home cooking, but before you head down to your grocers to grab a jar of that stuff next time, consider making your own!

In Italy most home cooks would swear by using fresh, summer tomatoes for their sauce, but if you live in a place where tomatoes are consistently bland and overpriced like I do, go for a tin of whole plum tomatoes or chopped tomatoes for a money- and time-saving short cut.

Me frolicking in every home cook's wonderland: Borough Market, London

Heirloom tomato galore at Borough Market, London
A great tomato sauce should be able to stand on its own without much adornment and excessive seasoning, as some purists may say. No herbs, no onions, no vinegar, no wine; just sugar, salt, olive oil, and tomatoes. Pure tomatoey goodness. But if you are like me who loves full-on flavor, experiment with different seasonings and create your own flavor profile!  

Homemade tomato sauce is simple and quick, and it freezes well. So make a big batch ahead of time and you will always have some ready when you need some. Here is my own go-to recipe. I sometimes throw in a squirt of  ketchup for a sweeter, more Japanese-style tomato sauce (ready for a Purist onslaught). Try it out and it might just surprise you. I often finish my sauce with some fresh cherry tomatoes for some extra chunkiness.

Create other dishes using this tomato sauce:
Grilled Eggplant Parmesan
Orecchiette with Eggplant and Italian Sausage

Make homemade tomato sauce from fresh whole tomatoes or the canned variety for ease

What you'll need...
1 tin (800 g / 28 oz) chopped tomatoes
1 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
Pinch of red pepper flakes
2 bay leaves 
Fresh or dried herbs to taste (eg. sage, rosemary, thyme, oregano)
2 stems of fresh basil, thyme, or rosemary
Salt and pepper, to taste
Sugar, to taste
6-8 cherry tomatoes, halved (optional)
2 teaspoons tomato paste (optional)
1. Heat oil in a large saucepan on medium-low heat, add chopped onions and cook until translucent and tender. Stir in garlic, red pepper flakes, and any dried herbs and cook for another two minutes until fragrant.

2. Tip in the tomatoes, bay leaves, salt and pepper, bring to a slow boil then reduce heat and let simmer, uncovered, for 20 min, stirring occasionally, until sauce is reduced.

3. Stir in cherry tomatoes (if using) and add stem of basil or other fresh herbs and submerge in sauce for another 10 minutes. Test the sauce and add sugar to cut the acidity. Season to taste with tomato paste if desired.

4. When finished, discard bay leaves and stem of basil. Enjoy the sauce as is with your favorite pasta or use it in a variety of dishes!

Note: Use a immersion blender to puree the sauce for a smoother sauce; otherwise, leave it chunky! Keep refrigerated for up to one week, or keep separate batches in freezer for later use.

Flavor and texture is derived from reducing the sauce


番茄  1 罐 (800 克)
初榨橄欖油  1 1/2 湯匙
蒜頭  4 瓣  (切碎)
洋蔥  1 小個  (切碎)
乾辣椒碎  適量
各種香草  隨意  (乾或新鮮)
月桂葉  2 片
新鮮羅勒葉 、百里香、或迷迭香  2  枝
黑胡椒  適量
砂糖  適量
車厘  6-8 個  切半(可免)
番茄膏  2 茶匙(可免)

1. 橄欖油用中慢火燒熱,下洋蔥煮至軟身。
2. 加入蒜、乾辣椒碎、及任何乾香草,多煮約兩分鐘。
3. 加入罐裝番茄、月桂葉、鹽和黑胡椒並拌勻,待滾後轉慢火煮約 20 分鐘。
4. 加入已切好的小番茄和整枝羅勒葉,繼續煮約 10 分鐘至完全收水。
5. 試味。如番茄醬偏酸,可加糖調整。
6. 可隨個人喜好加入番茄膏調味。
7. 把羅勒和月桂葉拔掉並扔掉即成!可隨意炮製各式各樣的意大利菜式!


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