Have you ever wonder why pizza and pasta taste better when you have them in Italy?
It probably depends on more than one reason (first: you’re on holiday, everything tastes and looks better), but what surely plays a pivotal role is one of the simplest ingredients: tomato sauce.
Not all the tomato sauces are equal: some fit best with certain kinds of pizza, some are perfect with spaghetti, some other are ok with pasta but are to die for gnocchi.
Here is an easy tomato-sauce recipe you can use both for pizza margherita and spaghetti:
Tomato sauce with basil
Extra-virgin olive oil
Making Italian tomato sauce
Wash tomatoes. Cut them and remove seeds (it’s much easier if you cut tomatoes lenghtwise and then rip seeds away with a spoon), then reduce them into cubes.
Pour cubes of tomatoes in a pot and light fire under it, without adding anything in the pot, neither oil and salt.
Tomatoes must cook until they become a kind of mush. To do so, you’ll have to stir them often, not to let them stick to the pot (remember: there’s no oil!).
Once they’re cooked, pass tomatoes through a vegetable mill. This makes the most of their skin to be removed and makes the pulp smoother.
Put the tomato purée in the pot again and let it cook again, so that it reduces thanks to the evaporation of the water it contains.
Ladies and Gentlemen, Italian salsa di pomodoro is basically ready.
Seasoning with basil
Now just take the quantity of sauce you need for your dish, let it cook with a spoonful or so of extra-virgin olive oil and a hint of salt, and, when it’s almost time to use it on your dish, add one leaf (or two) of fresh basil, and stir.
The heat of the sauce will extract basil’s aroma, so don’t let it cook for a too long time, or it will give the sauce a bitter taste.
Tomato sauce with basil on pizza margherita
If you use this sauce on pizza, just pour it on the stretched dough before baking it, and add mozzarella short before it’s baked, so that the cheese can melt but doesn’t cook.
Be sure you are using actual mozzarella, or the cheese’s taste will be too strong and will cover up the one of the sauce, which is not just a basis, but a principal ingredient of this pizza recipe.
Other kinds of pizza usually are made with a tomato sauce that doesn’t contain basil, because they are dressed with dried oregano.
Tomato sauce with basil on spaghetti
If you are willing to use this sauce on spaghetti, don’t simply pour it on them.
Some sauces can be just added on the top of boiled pasta (for instance, pesto sauce: such a delicate raw sauce you have to take care not to overheat it while preparing it with the blender), some other sauces need to be panfried with pasta: this is one of the latter kind.
Once your spaghetti are cooked, pour them in a pan with two or three spoonfuls of hot extra-virgin olive oil and the proper quantity of sauce, and sauté it all for a short time (one minute is enough) on a high gas.
Be sure you have drained your spaghetti really “al dente”, or they will overcook in the pan.