Salsa di pomodoro, the original recipe
by our ‘culinary’ Italian teacher: Marzia. Of course with Italian vocabulary!
(This recipe was dictated by the God of Italian cuisine to my grandmother Gina).
Summer is coming and nothing is more summery, for Italian people, than tomato sauce (Salsa di pomodoro)
As for each cornerstone of our cuisine, every single family in Italy has its own recipe for tomato sauce. And, of course, they are ready to bet their own lives on the fact that this very recipe is the one and only.
Basically every Italian family owns the recipe that the God of Italian cuisine has, ‘on a dark and stormy night’, dictated to grandma . Did the God of cuisine visit every single Italian family talking about one or another recipe of our tradition? Oh yes! Why does it sound so surprising to you?
Let it go, don’t argue, don’t mess with them: just eat and enjoy every bite.
So here is the very original recipe of tomato sauce that the God of Italian cuisine has dictated to my grandmother Gina on a scented and starry night (because, unlike Snoopy, we only have those summer nights in Sicily).
– One large and high pot (una pentola alta e larga, molto capiente)
– One wooden spoon, one table spoon (un cucchiaio di legno e un cucchiaio da tavola)
– A food-mill with handle (un passaverdura con manovella)
– One piece of bread to taste the result 😉
– 5 kg tomatoes (5 kg di pomodori)
– 5 large onions (5 cipolle grandi)
– 5 big cloves garlic (5 spicchi d’aglio grandi)
– One small (but also big…) bunch basil. (un piccolo, ma anche grande, mazzetto di basilico)
– One spoon sodium bicarbonate (un cucchiaio da tavola di bicarbonato)
– Salt and sugar (sale e zucchero)
– Extra virgin olive oil (olio extravergine di oliva)
1. Cut (tagliare) the tomatoes and onion into large pieces. Peel the garlic cloves.
2. Pour (versare) the oil on the bottom of the pan. The bottom must be completely covered with oil. Heat it over medium heat. When it is hot, add the tomatoes, onion and garlic. Stir (mescolare) immediately: vegetables must not fry (friggere), they only have to heat up (riscaldersi) .
3. When everything is well mixed and all the vegetables have heated up to boiling (bollire), add (aggiungere) a spoonful of salt, stir, cover the pot with a lid (coperchio) and lower the heat (abbassare il fuoco) a little. Salt will drain the liquid from the vegetables.
4. Check (controllare) the pot after 15-20 minutes. Is there enough liquid? Vegetables should not be submerged or floated in liquid, but excess liquid should be visible. If you are not sure, add 250 ml. of boiling water (acqua bollente). Now add a spoonful of sodium bicarbonate and stir: sodium bicarbonate removes (eliminare) excess acid!
5. Cover the pot and let it simmer (sobollire) for 1 hour and 45 minutes. Always on medium low heat (a fuoco medio-basso). From time to time check and mix, you must check that there is always enough liquid, but not too much: the vegetables should not be submerged or floated. If they are, no drama: cook uncovered during the last 30 minutes.
6. Wash the basil, remove the roots, and put it in the pot. Simmer 10-15 minutes more. Put out the fire.
Put the vegetable mill on a large container and use it to grind (macinare/ passare) all the contents of the pot. The sauce that is collected in the bowl is the real sauce.
7. Transfer the collected sauce back to the pot, turn on the heat to medium and thicken. The consistency (la consistenza) must be dense (densa), not liquid. It can take 15 to 30-35 minutes. At this time you can adjust the salt and, if necessary, add a little sugar to adjust the acidity.
Now you can use your piece of bread to taste (assagiare)!
This sauce is the perfect base for spaghetti, for eggplant parmigiana (parmigiana di melanzane) and for many Italian dishes such as pasta alla norma, polpette al sugo et c.
You can freeze the sauce by putting it in a tupperware. You can store in the freezer up until one year.