I’ve been telling you about this. How bad I am at taking decisions.
But, friends and foes: I did it. I decided where I want to go for my semester abroad and handed in all the papers needed. Puhhh.
Considering the fact that I’ve studied all possibilites and considered about 20 of the 24 countries on the list, and some five weeks ago, I pondered between Lyon and Stockholm, went to the Erasmus bureau, hoping the lady could help me with my decision, I am pretty impressed I have decided to go to Padua in the end.
How I got there? I’m not sure to be honest. Firstly, I speak Italian because my mum never gave up talking Italian to me (Grazie, Mami!), but obviously I have no idea whatsoever of grammar, rules and the like. Perfectioning my Italian skills sounded like a plausible reason and getting to know the culture you grew up with just as well. Also, not exactly irrelevant is what Italians stuff their face with. This is not the reason why I’m going there (!), but I’m not unhappy about what I will be eating there.
To celebrate I have finally come to a decision (but don’t know if they will take me, as there is a limited amount of spaces, but let’s ignore that for now), I thought sharing my favourite sugo recipe would be an appropriate time.
Just to start with, I have one favour. Please stop calling it red sauce. It’s tomato sauce, or sugo. Thanks.
My way of making tomato sauce, a pretty easy way I learnt from my mum, has always been this:
1) Slice garlic
2) Heat oil in a pot
3) fry garlic
4) add herbs
5) add canned tomatoes
6) discover a myriad of little red dots on your shirt
7) get angry, promise yourself next time you are going to wear an apron for this, and wonder if there’s another way of doing it
8) cook for about 20 minutes
Now about two years ago I was in Italiy, visiting family. There were loads of us, and one of my great aunts cooked for the whole family. I watched her making pasta al sugo, and was surprised at what she did. No fine slicing or chopping. No red dots on her apron. Believe it or not, what she did is this:
1) Put chopped onions, garlic, canned tomatoes and herbs in a pot.
4) Let simmer for about 10-15 minutes.
5) Add olive oil and purée.
I was very much impressed by how simple she kept everything. But one part in my head was not satisfied with this simpleness. I obviously thought this can’t taste very nice, because she didn’t fry anything. That’s where the taste comes from, right?
So lunch was finally ready, everyone gathered together and my great-aunt started serving pasta from the massive pot.
I took my first bite. Was this actually the easy no-fry and almost-no-work sauce I watched her making? Yes, it obviously was. And I tell you what, it was the best tomato sauce I had eaten in my entire life. And coming from a part-italian family, I have tried a fair amount of pasta sauces.
So here it is, the tomato sauce you’ve been waiting for. You can add any herbs you like, as long as they are mediterranean (I usually add oregano, thme, basil or rosemary or a combination of them). Also you can find out what ratio of onions:canned tomatoes works best for you, as this is really a matter of taste.
Serves 2 (if you’re serving it with pasta)
- 400 g canned tomatoes (I use tomato passata)
- 1/2 onion
- 1 garlic clove
- 1 tbsp dried or fresh herbs (basil, oregano, thyme, rosemary)
- olive oil
Peel garlic cloves and onion and cut the onions into big pieces.
Add all the ingredients (except for the oil) to a pot and let simmer on middle heat for about 15 minutes. Stir occasioanlly.
Add olive oil and purée with a hand blender.
I mainly use the sauce for pasta, but it will probably be perfect for any other meditarrean dish which calls for tomato sauce. If you like it hot, add a chili or some dried chili powder, friends! (makes things a looot yummier)