This simple, humble tomato sauce is one of the healthiest recipe in the world. It is in the heart of the Mediterranean Diet. In Spain is sofrito, in America is salsa, Italians call it marinara. Basically is a sauce made with onions, garlic, olive oil stewed with diced tomatoes and herbs. Make a weekly batch and it is a life saver. Good for your heart (it has vitamins, minerals and the precious lycopene). And also, keep in mind that hundreds of simple quick time-saving recipes are using this yumi sauce.
Here is one of the traditional Romanian recipes for this wonderful sauce. Much tastier than commercial tomato sauces, worth a try.
Ingredients for 4 portions
1 small carrot very finely diced
2-3 medium sized onions, finely chopped
1 spoon paprika powder or a bell pepper finely chopped
2 cups of tomato juice or 7-8 medium size tomatoes
1 teaspoon table salt
a few grains of black pepper
1-2 grains of all spices
1 bay leaf
2 spoons of your favorite herbs. I like parsley or dill
4 spoons vegetable oil
1 tbsp vinegar, balsamic or simple
Optionally, 1-2 cloves of garlic
Optionally, a glass of wine
- Put in a pan the onions, carrot, bell pepper or paprika and stir-fry in olive oil until the onions become tender and start shining like glass. Don’t brown it, it will be bad for your stomach.
- Quickly add the skinned and diced tomatoes. Another option is to add tomatoes, skin and all, blended.
- Add the spices, the wine and the vinegar.
- Stew on low heat, for half an hour, with the lid partially on. It should be ready when the oil starts to separate and the tomatoes have changed color.
- Add the herbs, very, very finely chopped.
- Let it rest for 15 minutes.
- Remove the bay leaf.
You can use this sauce immediately or store it in the fridge for a week, in a jar.
Tips & Tricks
Here are some quick recipes, to make your cooking life easier.
- Combine this sauce with any fried or stewed or barbecued meats, fish, seafood to obtain a delicious meal. Best results are with fried chicken in tomato sauce or meatballs stewed for 20 minutes on low heat.
Put the sauce through a sieve to obtain a fine exquisite plate.
Don’t even think to throw away the solids, they’ll make an excellent snack on toast or add them to any soup.
- Pour some tomato sauce in a pan, make place for four eggs, stew with the lid on until the eggs are done. Sprinkle with freshly grounded black pepper. You can serve this with toast at breakfast or at any other meal with pasta.
3. Stir-fry a handful of minced meat. Add the tomato sauce and stew for 5 – 10 minutes more on very low heat. Meanwhile boil pasta al dente, 50 g dry pasta per portion.
Add pasta to the meat & sauce and stew for a couple of minutes.
Or just arrange nicely the pasta and the meat and sauce on your plate.
Serve it with you favorite fresh herbs , finely chopped or some grated cheese and fresh diced tomatoes.
4. Put the tomato sauce in a deep pan, add 4 cups water or stock, bring to a boil, throw in a can of beans or chickpeas or lentils or some cauliflower. Boil for 5 minutes more. There, you have a nice quick soup. Serve with toast and some fresh chopped herbs on top.
Blend the red lentil soup, optionally add 1 tbsp yogurt or cream or a bit of cheese on top, sprinkle some seeds and paprika and you’ll get an amazing meal, gourmet like.