Napoli Tomato Sauce – Better Than Mama’s Taste 

Mama Mia, in Italian, it means my mother.  Most Italians say mama’s Tomato Sauce is the best.  They are not saying that because they are patronizing their moms.  When I was in my 20’s.  I had a chance to visit Italy and was quite attracted to the local foods.  When I chanced to watch a Japanese TV program about how a housewife has tried to better her tomato sauce recipe in the past 20 years and still could not have the votes from husband and kids.  Of the TV host took her to visit a tomato farm right outside of Napoli.  The farm is blessed with rich volcanic soil and abundant sunshine and produce the world famous “Roman Tomatoes”.  Farm owner’s wife steps in to show the traditional way of tomato sauce making.  The first mistake the Japanese housewife has made is to remove skin and seeds.  Making efforts in vain, that’s the dilemma she has been facing.  That’s right, changing the direction of efforts should be considered if you are stuck in a problem for a long time. The skin of tomato has pectin, which is a gel-like substance, that will increase the thickness of the sauce when cooked. The underlying principle is the same as making fruit jam. The skin has plenty of flavors to create the layer for the taste of tomato sauce.  Then dice tomato into chunks less than 2cm.  Smaller pieces aids in the smoothness of the tomato sauce.

We are not in Napoli, so 2 ripe organic beef tomatoes are used here. Cook the tomato in a pot with medium heat, till about 1/2 of the contents have been broken down into the sauce.  Transfer the contents to a blender to make into a paste.  Then use another pan to sauté 2 cloves of garlic in 1T of olive oil till fragrant.  Add the tomato sauce till it is brought to another boil.  Turn off the heat, add 1/2 t salt, 1/4 balsamic vinegar and 1 pinch of black pepper. Scoop and taste, it is thick and rich in taste.

At the end of the TV show, her husband and kids are invited to a blind taste for her tomato sauce against the Mama.  The score is 2 to 1.  What a triumph for the hardworking housewife, who has been trying to keep the family tradition running down the family tree.  That is the moment has kids can join all others in Napoli saying that my Mama’s tomato paste is the best in the world.

Preparation 30 minutes

Overall cooking time: 45 minutes

Skill level: Easy

Ingredients:

Organic ripe Beef Tomato      2 large

Garlic                                           2 cloves finely chopped

Salt                                               1/2 t

Black Pepper                              1 pinch

Olive Oil                                      1T

Balsamic Vinegar                      1/4 t

Instruction:

  1. Dice tomato into chunks of 2cm.
  2. Take a heavy pot, cook tomato chunks with medium heat, stir from time to time till 1/2 of the contents have been broken down into a liquid.
  3. Pour the mixture into a blender and blend it into a paste.
  4. Sauté garlic with olive oil till fragrant and add the mixture above and bring to less than a quick boil. Turn off the heat.
  5. Add salt, balsamic vinegar, pepper.
  6. Leave to cool. If not used immediately, transfer to a glass container and keep in the refrigerator up to 1 week. If you are lucky to have a whole carton of ripe tomatoes, expand your operation and sterilize glass container or mason jars to keep tomato sauce beyond the harvest season.

Application of the sauce:

  1. Mix with 1 serving of cooked spaghetti with 3T and top with 2 T sauce. Then shred 1T of parmigiana cheese. This is the traditional Napoli dish.  You may have noticed; no meat is involved.
  2. Use as the tomato sauce in your pizza.
  3. Since most of us are not Italian, use in whatever ways you like.

My Favorite:

DE CECCO is a brand of pasta I use all the time for all my pasta needs.  Cuoretti n° 76 is a star like smaller than rice pasta that can be cooked in 5 minutes. The 1886 founded company never fails me and can be available in most supermarkets like RT-Mart, Jason’s Market or Citisuper in Taipei.

Cuoretti n° 76 with chicken stock and Napoli Tomato Sauce ( 4 servings)

Ingredients:

Cuoretti n° 76                 250 g

Chicken Stock                  1 cup

Chicken thigh pieces      1/2 cup

Napoli Tomato Sauce      1 recipe as above

Instruction:

  1. Cook pasta following the direction on the package. Drain and set aside.
  2. Add one cup of chicken stock in a small pan and add chicken piece till cooked.
  3. Add the cooked Cuoretti n° 76. Stir. Add the tomato sauce, stir and turn off the heat.
  4. Transfer into individual plates and sprinkle with parmigiana cheese. Decorate by adding some greens, miniature basil is suggested.
Curetti n’76 with chicken stock and Napoli Tomato Sauce

Very simple.  You can taste your own share of foodie heaven.

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