Of all the Mother Sauces, Tomato sauce is the one people are most familiar with eating or cooking. I could even dare to say it is the mother of all Mother Sauces. I have never met a person who doesn’t like tomato sauce.
The tomato sauce is probably the only mother sauce that can be made with a minimum of 3 ingredients. You can cook a tomato (skinned and seeded) in some olive oil and add some salt, and create the most basic of tomato sauces! It is almost like the tomato is magic!
A good tomato is juicy and has a rich flavor making it the perfect base for a delicious sauce. The other neat thing is its natural structure allows it to thicken into a sauce so you don’t have to depend on a thickener like a roux.
So since I am continuing to talk about Mother sauces, I thought it was only fitting to do a recipe of a dish that I recently enjoyed with my mom. We went out to lunch and ordered an appetizer called “Mozzarella Pizzaiola”. It’s description on the menu was a bit deceiving because we thought it was going to be a cold dish but what came to our table was a delightful bubbling dish of poached mozzarella in a light tomato sauce.
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 shallot, finely diced
- 6 cloves of garlic, chopped (you can alter the garlic to suit your tastes)
- 28-ounce can of tomato (I use strained or diced)
- 1 Tbsp sugar
- ¼ cup red wine
- ¼ cup chicken broth
- 1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
- Salt and pepper
- 1 Tbsp Italian seasoning (be creative)
- 2 Tbsp fresh basil, torn
- ½ cup olives
- 2 cups fresh mozzarella balls (bocconcini) (if you can’t find the little balls use one or two big ones and dice it up)
- Parmesan cheese
- 1 baguette sliced and toasted.
- Heat olive oil in medium saucepan over medium heat. Add shallot and garlic. Sauté for about 5 minutes. Do not let garlic brown or your sauce will be bitter.
- Deglaze the pan with red wine.
- Add tomatoes, sugar, vinegar, olives, chicken broth and dry seasonings.
- Bring to a slow boil and reduce heat to a simmer.
- Let cook at least 30 minutes but you can cook for an hour.
- Taste for seasoning. (If you like a little heat, add a couple of shakes of red pepper flakes.
- In a small casserole (or little individual dishes), place fresh mozzarella. Add sauce. You want a little bit of sauce to surround each ball.
- Sprinkle with parm and fresh basil.
- Cook at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. (For extra bubbly goodness, broil a minute or two at the end)
- Serve with the baguette slices.
This tomato sauce is one I would call an appetizer sauce. It doesn’t have the richness of your grandmother’s pasta sauce (don’t all grandma’s have their own signature sauce) but it is still satisfying. I would use this on things like pizza bread, a dip for baked mozzarella or as a poaching liquid.
Given the popularity of Tomato sauce, I will definitely have more to say on this subject in the near future. I’ll try to space out the blogs so you have time to catch up! (Do I need to point out that was a pun?)