TOMATO SUGO: FROM CLARK KENT TO SUPERHERO IN 15 MINUTES FLAT.
If it takes you longer than that to make this sauce, you’re not doing it right.
A proper tomato sugo (sauce) is made with fresh tomatoes, built on a base of cooked-down onion. That’s great, but life isn’t always proper, and summer doesn’t last all year. So we need a fast, easy, bright red, velvety, deeply tomatoey tomato sugo that we can make all year round. Here ’tis. And hacks, you ask? Yes, I have hacks.
SUPERHERO TOMATO SUGO
Makes enough pasta sauce for two or three people.
400 g canned tomatoes, chopped
Half the above can of water or veggie stock
2 garlic cloves, finely sliced
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp sugar
half tsp dried oregano
1 tbsp salted capers, rinsed (and/ or 2 anchovy fillets, chopped)
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/ Tip the canned tomatoes into a saucepan.
2/ Half-fill the can with water or veggie stock, swirl to rinse, and add that tomatoey liquid to the pan as well.
3/ Add garlic, tomato paste, sugar, oregano, capers, olive oil, sea salt and pepper, and simmer for 15 minutes until nicely thickened, stirring occasionally. That’s it.
# The best way to chop canned tomatoes is to plunge a pair of kitchen scissors into the can and snip away as if you are Edward Scissorhands. If you have ever tried to chase tomatoes around a pan in order to chop them, you’ll appreciate the genius of this.
# If you have an open bottle of tomato passata (pureed tomato) in the fridge - or a lonely, left-over roast tomato - throw it in as well. You can’t have too much tomato.
# Upgrade your canned tomatoes and tomato paste to Mutti, and you’ll never go back. Upgrade again to canned cherry tomatoes, ditto.
# Once you’ve made this tomato sugo about three hundred times over the next few years, you might want to dial it up. Consider the additions of miso paste (at the end), balsamic vinegar or tomato sauce of the ketchup variety. Or just leave it alone, it’s perfect.
Use tomato sugo as the French would one of their ‘foundation’ sauces, and build on it.
# It’s a pasta sauce, obviously. Add meatballs, sausages, eggplant, tuna or the whole fish, calamari, prawn and mussels extravaganza. But never ignore the best pasta in the world – spaghetti al pomodoro (spag pom). Tip: to fuse sauce and pasta together, heat most of the sugo in a frypan, then add the drained pasta and toss well. Add a touch of the pasta cooking water if needed. Then onto hot plates immediately and top with remaining sugo, a little butter and lots of cracked black pepper, parmigiano and parsley.
# Do as above, swapping out the pasta for silverbeet stalks cut into penne lengths. Make a pesto with a few of the silverbeet leaves to go on top.
# Use your tomato sugo to make a spicy shakshuka with baked eggs for brunch.
# Serve with meatloaf, obviously. But wait, try this: form your meatloaf into a loaf-shape on a baking tray lined with baking paper, then spoon tomato sugo over the top BEFORE baking. It gets all crusty and delicious ( and will burn, without the baking paper).
# Add red wine, cinnamon and cumin to the sugo recipe in a nod to Greece. Serve with spanakopita, or meatballs – or add partly cooked green beans and finish the cooking in the sugo, then scatter with feta.
# Pinch sausages into a pan and fry, discarding skins. Add tomato sugo, heat through, and spoon over polenta made with lots of cheese.
# Add a can of red kidney beans and way too many jalapeno chillies, and serve with corn chips.
This has been a public service announcement. You may know how good tomato sugo is already, so this is for those who don’t.
Thanks for reading (and liking, commenting, subscribing, knock yourself out).
Copyright © 2020 Jill Dupleix. I live and work on the lands of the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation, and pay my respect to elders past, present and emerging.