Salsa di Pomodoro (Tomato Sauce)
For a perfect tomato sauce, choosing great tomatoes is key. It takes experience, time, and trial and error to see which ones work the best. The best sauces are the most simple, but the secret lies in the quality of the ingredients. The way my parents and grandparents make sauces is very different than the way I make them, because I style mine after the salsa fresca way of Southern Italy. This way uses sweet, ripe, low acid tomatoes that are high in flavor and require minimal cooking so it can be ready in a short time. There is no wine added, or long cooking times, just using fresh ingredients. But, it can cost more. Tomatoes are not cheap, at least the good ones aren’t. And, there are no canned tomatoes in my sauce. If you have to use cans of whole or chopped tomatoes just make sure you off set the acid with olive oil and sweeter (I use grated carrots to sweeten) and add some fresh tomatoes to it as well. San Marzano brand makes good canned plum tomatoes and puree for sauces.
When shopping for tomatoes, do not choose over watery tomatoes like the beefsteak kind or the ones with a light red color. Those are good for sandwiches but tend to lack flavor and be foam-like on the inside. Choose rich colors, dark red, purple, yellow, green, heirloom, organic, vine ripened, and tomatoes that feel ripe and soft to the touch. Cherry tomatoes also work great too as they are reliably sweet and stew nicely.
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