Rich Tomato Sauce Recipe
A very basic Tomato Sauce can be made with nothing other than tomatoes. However, for most purposes, other vegetables, typically, Onion, Celery, and sometimes Carrot, are included, along with Herbs and Seasonings. Here, we are taking the basic form and enhancing and enriching it with Red Wine and a good-quality, flavorful Bone Broth.
Many recipes for the richer varieties of Tomato sauce call for Chicken Stock, either commercial or home-made, but for a real richness and umami depth, I am using my own Homemade Rich Brown Bone Broth, which is made with Beef Marrow Bones and Pork Hocks. As you can see in the above picture, the content is so rich that the stock forms a lovely thick jelly when cooled.
You will see, in the Recipe Card below that I am not using any herbs or seasonings other than a little Salt and Pepper. The idea behind this Rich Tomato Sauce Recipe is that it be used as the bases for other recipes. I have kept the seasoning to a minimum to make the result more adaptable, allowing you to add additional flavorings suitable to whatever finished dish you make using the Sauce.
The first step in this recipe allows me to introduce two Italian cooking terms which may not be familiar to you: these are ‘Battuto’ and ‘Soffritto’. The Battuto has an interesting culinary history but, in modern parlance, it generally is constituted by what is known in French cookery as a ‘Mirepoix’, and consists of finely chopped onion, celery and carrot, with garlic usually being added as well.
Once this mélange is sautéed in some fat or other, it is then known as a Soffritto and is a common flavor base for many Italian dishes. Olive oil or butter are often used, but here, I am using the tasty fat rendered from Pork Belly for extra flavor.
To begin, melt your fat in a deep pot over moderate heat and then add the onions first. Sauté until they are translucent, but not browned, and then add the carrot. When this has softened slightly add the celery. Continue to sauté until the celery is soft as well and then add the garlic, the pepper and a generous pinch or two of salt.
Once the garlic has softened and you can smell the aroma, add the stock, the tomatoes and the wine. Bring this to a low boil and then turn down the heat, cover, and allow to simmer gently for one to two hours.
When the sauce has cooked sufficiently and all the vegetables are broken down, you need to blend it to a smooth consistency. In a food processor, this will be a bit of a chore, so, if you have one, I recommend using an immersion blender. Once you have done this, you will need to continue simmering, this time uncovered, until the sauce reduces somewhat and takes on a consistency a little thicker than that of a commercial tomato soup. The time for this will vary depending on the initial fluidity, but an hour or two should suffice.
Using a Rich Tomato Sauce
Essentially, this tomato sauce can be used like any other, such as in a Spaghetti and Meat Sauce, type of affair. Once cooled and chilled for a day or so to blend flavors, it can also make a very pleasant soup if you warm it gently and add a dash of cream
The best use, however, in my humble opinion, is to be the base for the traditional Italian-American ‘Sunday Gravy’. Basically, this involved cooking various Meat products in the sauce, then serving the meats separately, along with some pasta topped with the ‘Gravy’. The idea is to keep enriching the already Rich Tomato Sauce with successive additions of meat for cooking.
The Sauce, like a stockpot, can be kept for a long time, and will just grow deeper in flavor with each use. Even if the Sauce is not used to cook anything for a few days, you can take it out, reheat it to a quick boil then cool it again. This way, it can go on almost indefinitely as long as you replenish the liquid periodically.
Above, you can see the stuffed and rolled Italian preparation known as Bracciole being simmered in the Rich Tomato Sauce. Later, it will be taken from the pot, sliced and served, with some of the ‘Gravy’ over it, or over Pasta, or even Potatoes.
Cooking Sausages and Meatballs in ‘Sunday Gravy’ is very common, and adds yet more depth to the Sauce
And, here are some of said Sausages and Meatballs served over Pasta tossed with a little of the Rich Tomato Sauce turned ‘Sunday Gravy’
Your Recipe Card:
Rich Tomato Sauce
- 4 x 28oz cans of Diced Tomatoes
- 1- quart Rich Bone Broth
- 2 cups Onion finely chopped
- 1 cup Celery finely chopped
- 1 cup Carrot finely chopped
- 1 head Garlic cloves peeled and chopped
- 1- pint Red Wine
- 1 tsp. ground Black Pepper
- 1 – 2 tsp. Salt or to taste
- Briefly fry the Onions in a little oil or fat until just translucent, then add the Carrot, and when this softens, follow it with the Celery, and, a few minutes later, the Garlic, Pepper, and a generous pinch or two of Salt.
- When the aroma of the Garlic rises, add in the Tomatoes, Stock, and Red Wine, then simmer gently, partly covered for one to two hours.
- Once the vegetables have broken down, use a food-mill, or processor to produce a nice smooth result.
- Continue to simmer, as necessary to reduce to the desired consistency, then let cool, and store under refrigeration until needed.