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Easy Basic Tomato Sauce, AKA Sugo for Honorary Paisans

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
EASY and BASIC TOMATO SAUCE
(Makes 6 cups)


Here's something very easy and kickback; I originally wrote it for someone who, although not a beginner himself, liked very simple recipes. You may want to tweak it with some red pepper flakes. Dress it down with some grilled meat, preferably sausage in onions and peppers, and some garlic toast on the side.

If you like you can call it, ASugo for Honorary Paisans.@


Ingredients:
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tbs tomato paste
3 tbs extra virgin olive oil
1 28 oz can plum or (preferably) San Marzano tomatoes, whole, peeled and seeded; or, 1 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes (see Note.)
3 tbs sugar, divided
1 glass red wine
2 tsp instant coffee
1 tsp red pepper flakes
2 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano or marjoram
1 tbs salt, divided

Technique:
Drain the tomatoes, reserve the juice, and rough chop the tomatoes.

Saute the onions on medium high heat in olive oil until sweated and just beginning to brown. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, two minutes at most. Add the tomato paste, and move the vegetables through it. Cook until the paste darkens, another three or four minutes.

Add the tomatoes, half the juice, reduce the heat to medium, and bring to a simmer. Adjust the flame to hold a medium simmer. Add 2 tbs sugar, the wine, the instant coffee (or a shot of espresso) and the pepper flakes. Simmer 15 minutes, until wine is cooked.

Taste and adjust for sugar and wine. Add the herbs, crumbling them into the sauce. Let simmer another 15 minutes.

Taste and adjust for herbs, and salt. It may not need any salt, depending on the type of tomatoes ues. Continue to simmer until the tomatoes are almost, but not completely melted. Probably another half hour, altogether. If sauce is too thick, thin with the remaining juice, water, and/or wine as desired.

This sugo is as unadorned as can be, add anything that tickles your fancy.

Note: This sauce will be slightly chunky. It may be milled, sieved, processed, blended or otherwise pureed to smooth it. Alternatively, it may be made with crushed tomatoes instead of whole.

If you=re making this for pasta B and you darn well better try it sometime B the beverages of choice would be beer or cheap red. Think juicy ‑‑ Chianti, Barolo, Zin, Barb, "Big House Red," and other wallet‑buddies.

Buon apetito!
BDL

PS. This recipe is original with me. If you like it and want to share it (but not for gain) with someone else, you have my permission on condition you attribute it to me, Boar D. Laze. I would consider it a kindness if you would also mention my eventually to be finished book, COOK FOOD GOOD, American Cooking and Technique for Beginners and Intermediates.

PPS. If you haven't done so recently, take a look at my blog on CT, ChefTalk Cooking Forums - COOK FOOD GOOD, Blogging BDL's Cookbook. Suggestions welcome.
post #2 of 20
Sounds ike the kind of sauce I enjoy making regularly, but I don't tend to use coffee, but will try it next time around.

For me, just personally, for that amount of tomato, I'd add another onion, another 2 garlic cloves, skip the chilli flakes exchange with raw minced chillis (I don't like the feel of the dried flakes,even once cooked, on the tongue-that's just me though).

Chunky is good. Gives your teeth something to do :)

The method is great to follow, surely anyone would be able to follow it.

P.S. With the book title, are you set on that? As you do a variety of cuisines, is the word "American" necessary/appropriate, or are you aiming for the American customers primarily? Please no-one take offence to this question :) Just asking as there could be a wider market.....just a thought
 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 
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 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 
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post #3 of 20
Thanks for posting this.

Coffee? Really?

For pizza would you for for this uncooked, or still cook it?

TIA
post #4 of 20
Thread Starter 
I've always appreciated your culinary outlook, which seems to combine discipline and good taste with fun and adventure. In this case, I wanted to keep the sauce very mild and pantry friendly, in part so it could be tweaked by anyone who cared to do so. Although I don't say it in every recipe I try to write in such a way so as to encourage the type of personalization and improvisation you suggest.

Can't disagree with that.

Thanks for that. It means a lot, since that is exactly the aim with this recipe.

No offense taken, and I can't imagine why you'd think anyone would. :)

Is the title set? No. I don't even have enough done to talk to a publisher, much less think about title, cover art and who's going to write the jacket blurb.

Why American? Good question. Forgive me if I start the answer with a digression. I really hadn't thought about the book having much interest for the international market. In fact, I haven't given much thought to commercial appeal at all, it's really more a fantasy than a business venture at this point.

What I like about "American," is that, as an "imperial" cuisine it includes not only the regional cuisines we have here, but those which came with our immigrants. So, while American may not "borrow" with the incredible inclusivity of French and Chinese cooking, it's not too shabby either.

Your question raises some really interesting (and flattering) thoughts. It's nice to have people with a serious interest in cooking treating the prospect of me finishing and selling CFG seriously. I'd like to continue this discussion and hear more about your ideas; as well as get some others from other non-Americans. Maybe we should take it to the blog.

Thanks,
BDL
post #5 of 20
Thread Starter 
Yep. Really brings out the tomato; and isn't even all that unusual.

Personally, I'd cook it to bring out the sweetness and get rid of some of the water. But that's not advice -- just answering your question is all.

BDL
post #6 of 20
Hi BDL,
The recipe sounds very easy to follow and I can't see how anyone would have difficulty making it come out right. In particular it is not too fussy, not too nitpicking, and not too snobby, which are all qualities that make people often shy away from trying to cook what they usually buy in a jar already made!

I think, however, that the addition of coffee only makes people ask questions: Why coffee? You always explain things so well, this is one of the things that requires explanation in the recipe itself, i think. Also, it may not be so unusual, but i have only every heard about using coffee in tomato sauce from you.

For my taste, i think the tomato paste would make it too thickly tomatoey, and i have doubts about cooking it separately till it darkens slightly, since it is already densely reduced (not sure of the process, if cooked down or if dried by simple evaporation) but usually i think of tomato paste as something you add mixed with water. The possibility of burning the tomato paste (for a beginner, or for a more experienced but distracted cook like me) would be a big risk and would give a very unpleasant taste.

Also, why don't you add the wine to the soffritto and boil it down? I rarely have wine on hand, and so unless i'm making a seafood sauce, i don;t even think of adding it, but if i do, it's at that stage. Is there some explanation (I am guessing, since it's you writing, that there must be) and doesn;t it leave a raw winey taste in the sauce when added later?

I'd find the herbs too heavy-duty. 1 tsp origano? isn;t that a very strong origano flavor?
Just some (very personal) thoughts on herbs in sauce. First of all, I think you have to go easy with them or they instantly overpower and you get the "pizza flavoring" taste to the sauce. I rarely use them in the cooked sauce except for a special sauce which is specifically intended to be herby (see below).
For my (very personal) taste, with a fresh light sauce i like garlic and red pepper, with fresh uncooked parsley added when it;s mixed with the pasta.
For a more cooked sauce, I like onion and black pepper- though i usually add carrot and celery as well, and often garlic as well, (because who can leave out garlic?), but the base is onion. Basil adds a sort of sweet flavor that doesn;t go so well with garlic and red pepper i think. And i would go for fresh basil on top but not cooked into it, since cooking basil tends to change flavor and have a funny tasteI add it fresh on top just before serving. Maybe dried basil is different, I don;t use it (I can find basil all year everywhere, including most of the year on my terrace). I do occasionally do a heavily herbed sauce (thyme, bay leaf, origano, maybe even rosemary) but for a sauce with lots of onion cooked in butter with lots of black pepper. (sugo agli odori di bosco) (woodsy-herbed sauce) and lots of cheese - parmigiano but maybe also salted hard ricotta. But again, that is a sauce specifically intended to be herby.

Hope these are helpful.

Go for the book! I will surely buy it.
"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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post #7 of 20
BDL
I tried this recipe ,only changed 1 thing and it came out quite good. Only thing I subed was baking soda for sugar. I am diebetic so I try and save the use of sugar. The soda like in our stomachs removes the acidity of tomato and gives a mild edge to tomatoes. Coffee which I never tried before seemed to have made it richer Thanks ED
CHEFED
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CHEFED
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post #8 of 20
Will join into the book discussion on the blog.

Coffee is not that unusual paired with savoury sauces. Even with stews and casseroles, particularly beef dishes, it deepens the flavour. Nice with game too. Very akin to using bitter chocolate in game dishes. What goes well with chocolate? Coffee :) Speaking of which...bitter chocolate coated coffee bean...yum.

Coffee made mixed with other spices in a brewed coffee can also be great...ok yep, getting OT sorry!

I think the sugar will balance out the amount of tomato paste. As it is added early in the process, the bitterness will be cooked out, also balanced by the sweetness of the onions and tomatoes.

As I understand you are saying, no recipe is set in stone. Its a good recipe, well written, and a good starting point to many a meal. People tweak at their leisure and pleasure :)
 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 
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 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 
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post #9 of 20
I'll certainly be trying the coffee.

Good to see someone advocating the need to cook the tomato paste out. This never seems to be mentioned in recipes.

I personally dont like dried basil. But thats just me. I dont thing it delivers. If i dont have fresh, I leave it out and rely on the other herbs for the oomph factor.
"If we're not supposed to eat animals, why are they made of meat?" Jo Brand
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"If we're not supposed to eat animals, why are they made of meat?" Jo Brand
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post #10 of 20
I agree on the dried basil, I love dried oregano though, and find that dried marjoram is pretty good too. The marjoram is a good substitute when paired with oregano.

The recipe is looking at being pantry handy, so what you have to hand, you can cook a good sauce, without having to go out and buy anything particularly for it.

Fresh basil is so nice, if you have it/ grow it.
 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 
Reply
 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 
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post #11 of 20
Oh DC Sunshine,

The coffee is the secret ingredient.....it gives the sauce a full flavor.....

Chef BDL,


Bonjour, Buono Serra,




Your sauce has been simmering ..............


Well, let me start off by saying that I so enjoy the simplicity of the recipe, that is for starters.
I like the combination of one part basil and two parts oregano which is one of the recipes I use.
ED, You are so right, coffee enhances the flavors of the sauce !


As far as chunky tomato sauce ....when its time for “Chunky” then chunky it is...in this case , Chunky.....
For the spices....I believe that creating a sauce, is a personal thing as not everyone likes the same spices and taste.
I stayed "true" to your recipe and made it exactly. The only thing I did differently was pass the red peppers in my spice grinder to have a fuller flavor.
I am sipping wine....so , in honor of this happy day of cooking (which has been all day ( I have been baking...prep for 45 clients tomorrow.. ) I have put some Alois Lageder , Cabernet , Riserva 2005 in the sauce.

This will be served with stuffed Gnocchi (walnuts , pecorino bigio, fresh basil, mozzerella...etc)
I have tasted the sauce......4 times.....and it was tasty from “ A Capitale Ad Calcen.”


As for your book .....”Tis Your book, but I do believe that the first word of your cookbook should be.....
I think its good to have a blog on this n'est pas?...speaking of blogs.....


I have had a great day cooking, this being the finale, the end of a long day....I might add that this song was played a few times in the making of the sauce , not that it matters but " JOY " DOES HELP when cooking great food.


I refuse to cook without music.....


YouTube - Angelina / Zooma Zooma CPMV Angelina , zooma zooma....cute but Louis Prima cd is even better.....


ps. Ed , When it comes to sugar, like a few in my family , the same will be done.


Pps. Chef BDL......If I am going to experiment on a sunday afternoons, (or anyone else ) please submit the recipe so that I can indulge myself....with no holds......


Motto Grazie.

Petals
Réalisé avec un soupçon d'amour.

Served Up
(168 photos)
Wine and Cheese
(62 photos)
 
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Petals
Réalisé avec un soupçon d'amour.

Served Up
(168 photos)
Wine and Cheese
(62 photos)
 
Reply
post #12 of 20
Thread Starter 
Chef Petals,

Nice choice! You use much better wine for cooking than I do. The last time I made this sauce it was Two Buck Chuck, Shiraz, August.

I hope it enhances your gnocchi. The sauce was designed to be versatile.

I'm at a loss, here. Does this mean you want me to post something nice, time-consuming and complicated?

BDL
post #13 of 20
Hehe good title for a cheap wine Two Buck Chuck. Sounds like what I cook with.

It is a versatile sauce, lots of my dinner cooking revolves around tom. sauces but I'm going to have to change up soon for something else. Family is getn bit bored with them. But I've got a slightly fussy eater....but I DO know how to hide stuff like mushrooms, zucchini, etc. Things are improvng, sometimes they don't need hiding. That's probably just me not treating them like the adults they almost are. Eh!

I should just give 'em the food and say "Do it yourself!" I reckon. I do get one night off a week, 18 y.o. daughter cooks, and pretty well, and is getting the timings right now, its lovely to see her cooking develop :) Need to get 16 y.o. son cooking more....no apron strings wanted here.

Oops OT again....

Petals, are you meaning you need BDL to post a new recipe in time for you to experiment when you have no obligations and free time on a Sunday afternoon? I think that's what you are saying - but I have been wrong before :) It s great fun to have time to play with food without having to make it for any exact purpose....love times like that.
 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 
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 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 
Reply
post #14 of 20
good sauce, coffee is great used some in a chilli 2 days ago.
post #15 of 20
I am always experimenting in the kitchen and it happens that sunday afternoons seem to be when I have more time to concentrate on "creating dishes." Am I looking for complicated dishes to make ? I have always been hard on myself that way so the answer would be "NO" (a complicated dish can mean many things)
Am I looking for recipes to make , "YES".
I normally have one week to plan ahead of time. The joy about CT is that I get inspired to make new dishes or re-create an old one.

Chef BDL,

I wrote the spice quantity wrong, but did use 2 parts Basil and one part Oregano. I had been experimenting with Gnocchi that morning. There does not seem to be that many recipes for it ? That being said I thought I would look for a tasty sauce without cheese and it so happened that you had posted your recipe. I did not waste time in getting it started.
The sauce was terrific by the way. It was not complicated to make, similar to the one I already make.
I have many cooking wines, that was the one I chose.

Nothing wrong with trying a recipe with "more steps".

Thank you for posting it as it went great with the Gnocchi.

Petals
Réalisé avec un soupçon d'amour.

Served Up
(168 photos)
Wine and Cheese
(62 photos)
 
Reply

Petals
Réalisé avec un soupçon d'amour.

Served Up
(168 photos)
Wine and Cheese
(62 photos)
 
Reply
post #16 of 20
I think I'll give this recipe a try next time I make red sauce. Add me to the list of (culinary professionals) that have never heard of adding coffee to a tomato sauce! I'll have to buy or borrow some, though, as I don't drink the stuff. The recipe looks great but I think I may strain and roast the diced toms briefly to deepen their flavor.

Good luck on the book. I'll be eager to check it out when it's finished. The word "American" does seem a tad restrictive as even this recipe doesn't strike me as particularly American; then again, American cooking is really a synthesis of world cooking with our own regional spins.
"Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." - Aristotle
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"Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." - Aristotle
Reply
post #17 of 20

coffee

Can you give me more description of the use of coffee, what it means "pulls the flavour out", We never ever tried here, we are traditionalists......
post #18 of 20
Thread Starter 
Rounder, taste more tomato in it, not quite as bright... it's hard to put in words.

Better, add a shot or two of espresso the next time you make a sugo di pomodoro and see for yourself. Make a small enough quantity that it's no tragedy if you don't like it.

Coffee, in moderation, seems to have an affinity for tomatoes which makes the tomatoes taste... well... more like tomatoes. How so? Why? Perhaps coffee's aroma and/or bitterness sensitize receptors on the palate and/or tongue. Or, to put it more definitely, quien sabe?

As to tradition, the addition may have come from Sicily, Naples, Venice, Trieste, or even Vladovostok for all I know. This particular sauce is not only very versatile it's a good teaching recipe for people starting out who want something better than sauce from a jar. It is not, nor is it intended to be, the be all and end all of "traditional" Italian cuisine. You're free to use it or not as you like.

Oh, and BTW: Welcome to the forum. I've been reading your posts, appreciate your viewpoint for its regional, pedagocial and all around good cooking insights, and look forward to reading lots more from you.

BDL
post #19 of 20

Coffee and tomato

Well, I will definitively try. I googled in italian, unfortunately what you call teaspoon is our Cucchiaino da caffè so it is impossible to search on recepies if any other suggests to use coffee. Maybe I have a scoop.
Thank you for the nice words-
post #20 of 20
Thread Starter 
If you have a macchine da espresso, you'll do better with a shot or two of 'spresso than instant coffee. If not, instant will do fine.

BDL
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