The first thing I began to experiment with in the kitchen was tomato sauce. It began with me mixing my mom’s homemade pesto with jarred tomato sauce and has evolved into a mix of ingredients based on what I want to eat. My time studying abroad is the closest I have ever come to using a recipe. We would eat pasta with tomato sauce once or twice a week (did you know Italians eat pasta, pizza, and risotto as the first dish of a meal?) and it was always homemade and fresh. One evening I asked her how she made her sauce: tomatoes, olive oil, basil, onion, and garlic, put all ingredients in a pot and cook. I am not paraphrasing, these were the directions she gave me. When my sister came to visit, we attempted to follow her instructions. While it was delicious, it wasn’t really saucy and needed more liquid. Since then I have included tomato puree or sauce when I am my version.
Even though I feel confident making tomato sauce, I could make it in my sleep, so many cookbooks I pick up have a variation of a tomato sauce. I have decided to try many of them to see what new flavors and techniques I can add to my tomato sauce making.
First up: Perfect Tomato Sauce from Chrissy Teigen’s Cravings.
Her recipe was similar to my host mom’s recipe, but replacing basil with oregano, thyme, and rosemary. Given the last time I used diced tomatoes without a tomato sauce, I was a little nervous how it would turn out. When the tomatoes were added to the pot, I wasn’t sure if they would become the saucy texture I was hoping for.
But with simmering the sauce for a fair amount of time, it developed a perfect saucy quality. And was delicious. I was curious how the change-up of herbs would change the flavor, and it added a new depth to the usual tomato sauce flavors.
My biggest take away was that it is possible to make a tomato sauce with fresh tomatoes as long as it stews for a while, and I look forward to trying other tomato sauce recipes. Whose will be next?