I’ve long been a lover of the round red fruit. Sweet, tart, and surprising as it splashes on the tongue. What most amazes me is how different the tomato is in the summer and in the winter. The hothouse version is barely a distant cousin of the fresh orb. What do you do in the winter when you want to cook with tomatoes? If you haven’t picked and canned your own, you (and me, and most everyone else) turn to the supermarket.
The first meal Mike cooked that I distinctly remember was a dish in tomato sauce. Red sauce. Deep, flavorful, and warming. Unlike anything I’d had before. That was my initial introduction to his Italian heritage. His family cooks tomato sauce all year long from canned tomatoes. I never thought much about the different brands of canned tomatoes before I met Mike. One sale version was as good as the next. Mike taught me about the flavors unique to each brand and to each can. He taught me what a good red sauce can be, the kind that makes you want to lick your plate clean even though there’s company over.
As time went on and our relationship deepened, he and his family shared their wisdom of sauce making. One of the most important lessons is to start with quality ingredients. They combine several different brands, but one that’s always a staple is Tuttorosso tomatoes. They’re easy to find in any supermarket. They usually pick the dark blue cans, the Old World Style tomatoes.
When Tuttorosso contacted* me about a promotion, I readily agreed to spread the word. They are giving away prizes ALL MONTH LONG. To enter, visit their Facebook page for details. Flavorful tomatoes, grand kitchen prizes, and fame can be yours!
The promotion runs through December 22nd. Some of the upcoming prizes being given away are:
Nov 28: Two Sided Wood Cutting Board by Cat Cora
Nov 29: Tuttorosso Variety Gift Box
Nov 30: Cheese Rotary Grater
Dec 1: 12 qt Stockpot by Paula Deen
Dec 2: 2.1 Qt Pasta Storage Containers by OXO
Dec 3: 4.5 in Utility Knife by Wusthof
And if the chance to win exciting kitchen prizes isn’t enough, you can always make this sauce. It’ll make you fall in love with tomatoes again, whatever the season.
Fall in Love Tomato Sauce
Makes a large pot, enough for 1 lb of pasta
3 cans of tomatoes, (whole, peeled tomatoes)
1/2 onion, diced
4-5 cloves garlic, minced
4 Tbsp. olive oil
1/4 tsp. salt (more, if needed)
8-10 cranks of the pepper mill
1/2 tsp. dried basil (or 5-6 fresh leaves, loosely torn)
1 tsp. dried parsley
sprinkle of baking soda (as needed)
1. Put all tomatoes in a large bowl. Taste each can before adding to make sure it is good.
2. Use immersion blender, regular blender, or hands to break up tomatoes. Leave them slightly chunky, you don’t want them too smooth.
3. Heat oil in large, heavy weight sauce pan.
4. Add onion and saute until soft, 4-5 min.
5. Add garlic and saute for 1-2 minutes, until it flavors the oil but before it burns.
6. Take pan off of heat. Carefully add tomatoes. Try not to splash!
7. Return to heat. Bring just to a boil.
8. As soon as tomatoes reach a boil, lower to a simmer.
9. Add salt, pepper, basil, parsley. Stir.
10. If tomatoes seem slightly acidic, add a sprinkle of baking soda. Watch it bubble and foam up. Stir.
11. Leave pot on a low simmer and half cover it with the lid.
12. Let it cook down for 45 minutes to an hour, stirring occasionally.
13. Taste and adjust seasoning accordingly.
Sorry there are no photos. We make this so often and eat it so quickly, there’s seemingly no time for photographs. I’ll update this in the future with process pictures.
* For full disclosure, Tuttorosso sent me a gift pack of tomatoes. The opinions expressed here are my own and had been established long before they contacted me.