Back in May, Dono and I traveled to Florence and we took a cooking class where we made a 3 course meal, one of them including a simple tomato sauce over tagliatelle pasta. Incredibly, it was one of our best meal in Europe! Unfortunately, the recipe booklet they gave us did not exactly match the sauce we made, so I have been unsuccessfully trying to recreate that sauce.
I was craving a good, simple tomato sauce to go with my pasta. While shopping around the Market Hall in Rockridge, Oakland, I noticed a book that was titled “Florentine” by Emiko Davies while waiting for my cut-prosciutto order. Flipping through it, I found a simple recipe for tomato sauce! Did it taste good? I had to buy the book to try it out. When I finally cooked it, it tasted great! Highly recommend you to check out her book!
However, there were some tweaks that I had made to the recipe to better suit Dono’s taste. We both are a huge fan of flavors, especially garlic. So I added 4 times the amount. I also added half of a shallot to add a more fragrant onion flavor. As for the tomatoes, I always tried to use fresh tomatoes as we always have plenty growing the in garden during the summer. However, I noticed that Emiko uses canned tomatoes. For one, it really cuts down the cooking time because you’re cutting down time for the sauce to reduce and thicken. So, I decided to follow suit with a 28 oz canned whole-peeled tomatoes. Why whole? I like to control the texture of my sauce with my immersion blender. For tomato soup, I like to have it runny smooth while for tomato sauce, I like it a bit more pulpy. Also, in the interest of washing fewer dishes, I did everything in one pot.
This sauce is one that tastes a whole lot better the morning after. And it freezes well, so make a big batch for a time-saving meal. Slap it on some pasta or do what I did and buy cheese tortellini from Costco and slap this sauce onto there for a quick meal. It’s good with almost anything!
1 onion, diced
1/2 shallot, diced
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
4 clove of garlic, minced
10 basil leaves
28 oz canned whole-peeled tomatoes
28 oz water (yes, use the same can to measure!)
Salt and Pepper
Heat heavy pot with oil over medium heat. Add the onion and shallot into the pot and saute until softened (about 10 mins). Okay to put onion and shallot into pot before oil warms. Add a small pinch of salt.
While the onions are cooking, take an immersion blender and blend the tomatoes to the consistency of your liking, either pulpy or runny smooth. Set aside.
As the onion softens, add the garlic and cook for a couple of minutes more until the garlic becomes fragrant (do not let it brown/burn). Add the basil and stir for about 30 seconds until you can smell the basil aroma.
Pour the tomatoes and the water into a pot with a pinch of salt (be sure to taste) and heat mixture over medium-high heat until it begins to simmer.
Once the sauce begins to simmer, turn it down to a low simmer, uncovered and stirring occasionally, for about 1 hour until it has thickened to your preferred consistency. Salt and pepper to taste.