I have been a foodie for as long as I have lived. There isn’t a day that has gone by where I don’t spend some time thinking about what to eat, where to shop, reading food stuff and looking for the perfect recipes for my repertoire or “signature” dishes as I like to call them. One of my ongoing quests has been to find and cook the perfect pomodoro sauce, also know to some as tomato sauce, marinara or Sunday gravy. I can remember as a kid, Sunday outings to Roberto’s Half Moon restaurant where I first tasted the best sauce ever. The Roberto family emigrated form southern Italy, and brought to Canada their family recipe. I’m sure for them it was no great deal but for my French Canadian family, it was memorable. Every one of my sisters alike, remember the taste of perfect simplicity. We often compare our sauce (more like a competition than a comparison) to see who if anyone, can come close to Roberto’s.
My sisters are all very good cooks and they have come close, but I think I finally have a great competitor under my belt. This one comes from careful review and tasting of a sauce from a local restaurant where I now live. I’ve eaten there dozens of times, and every time I go, I get an additional piece of the puzzle to hopefully one day pull the whole thing together. (Sort of like those contest at McDonalds where you get pieces of the monopoly board every time you order something..does anyone ever win those?)
Well here is what I think the secret is to great simple delicious pomodoro sauce.
1) D.O.P. tomatoes form San Marzano. Tomatoes from this region are treated like great wine. They carry different certifications to prove their worthiness. Honestly, I thought this was a bit much for a tomato but after trying this sauce several different times….it’s worth the effort to hunt these babies down! D.O.P. stands for “Denominazione D’Oringine Proteta” translated for “Protected Designation of Origin” and some have a second certification “Pomodoro S. Marzano dell’Agro Sarnese Nocerino” which further certifies the region of the tomato. I have bought many San Marzano tomatoes(per Marcella Hazan) in my day but very few have these certifications and I tell you it makes a difference. Have a look at the front panel on the cans below.
2) Equal parts of carrots, white onion and celery, slowly cooked down to a melting stage in olive oil. Do not brown these vegetables as it will change the flavor. Once they are melted down and very soft, go to step 3.
3) Pass the cooked vegetables through a hand cranked food mill, followed by the tomatoes and send everything back into the pot.
4) Bring the sauce to a simmer and add salt only when bubbles appear on the top. Salt freely because this is the only time to salt the sauce. Simmer for 45 minutes and you are good to go.
What surprised me? No garlic, absolutely a no no.
What didn’t surprise me? The sauce tastes even better on the second day like most sauces.
Now I haven’t provided you with any specifics on how much to use. to get that, you will need to respond and ask me directly!