Let's talk about tomato sauce. Last week on a plane miles over the expansive plains of the Midwest, amidst a tumult of turmoil, it seemed to me that I had never shared with you my favorite tomato sauce recipe. I've included the recipe in one form or another in both of my books, but I've never gotten in depth here on the web about why it's the little black dress in my repertoire.
How to make a simple and bright tomato sauce
I realize that many of you have romantic ideas about what a good tomato sauce should be. And I realize it's going to be a tough sell on my part to make you take a break with some of these hearty, meaty, long-simmering sauces. But, I would encourage you to give this ringer a tomato sauce recipe. It comes together in five minutes flat, and the only cut required is a few cloves of garlic. It is bright and clean, vibrant red and exudes the essence of tomatoes, partly because there is nothing to prevent the taste of tomatoes.
Video: How to make a five minute tomato sauce
Short list of ingredients
Many of the tomato sauce recipes in this area (in the US in particular) include all kinds of ingredients. One camp wants to kick things off with brown onions and ground beef for a crunchy sauce, others love to use carrots and celery and all the powdered dried herbs and spices. This recipe will be at the other extreme of the spectrum – in all the best ways.
You won't wear a wool coat on the beach, right? This is what heavy spaghetti and tomato sauces in hot weather I like. This sauce is a relatively pure expression of tomatoes with a bit of sliced red peppers, a hint of garlic and my secret ingredient – a touch of lemon that brings the scent of citrus and a little surprise to the party.
So many different uses!
The first time you make this sauce, I suggest you roast it on light, fluffy pads filled with raccoons. Beyond that there are many other avenues to explore. It is transcendent in all baked pasta and pasta based pasta (do not wipe on zest). Toss it with fresh chopped pasta, a sprinkle of fresh basil and a dusted parmesan – you have a nice bowl of pasta.
Beyond the pasta ball, I use it in thin peel pizzas, in my lasagne thousand layers, as a base for stuffed shells, as a soup base, and as a way to pull together various "coconut palms". For example, quinoa tossed with a little tomato sauce, the protein of your choice, and tones like basil and a little cheese are simple and satisfying.
Picture on my favorite pizza dough, with some mozzarella and fresh basil. Be sure to pay attention to the type of crushed tomatoes to buy on prescription banknotes. I hope you love this sauce as much as I do and appreciate it for what is more than it is not.
A little richer. There are times when I will add a cream spray at the end, completely changing the character of the sauce – it becomes silky with a bit of richness, while still being bright and without compromising the tomatoes in the main role.
Sarah commented in the comments below: "Mmm, I love a nice San Marzano tomato sauce – mine is very similar, though I also throw in a few capers or maybe some olive paste if I have them in my hand." You love that.