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.

Fresh Mozzarella Poached in Tomato Sauce
Recipe Type: Appetizer
Author: Barbara Felt
Prep time: 20 mins
Cook time: 50 mins
Total time: 1 hour 10 mins
Serves: 6
Fresh mozzarella poached in a tomato and olive 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
  • 1/4 cup red wine
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth
  • 1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 Tbsp Italian seasoning (be creative)
  • 2 Tbsp fresh basil, torn
  • 1/2 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.
  1. 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.
  2. Deglaze the pan with red wine.
  3. Add tomatoes, sugar, vinegar, olives, chicken broth and dry seasonings.
  4. Bring to a slow boil and reduce heat to a simmer.
  5. Let cook at least 30 minutes but you can cook for an hour.
  6. Taste for seasoning. (If you like a little heat, add a couple of shakes of red pepper flakes.
  7. In a small casserole (or little individual dishes), place fresh mozzarella. Add sauce. You want a little bit of sauce to surround each ball.
  8. Sprinkle with parm and fresh basil.
  9. Cook at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. (For extra bubbly goodness, broil a minute or two at the end)
  10. 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?)