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Benvenuti al Tutti!

Welcome to Luigi's Tastes of Italy

This blog is my small dedication to Italian cooking, and is abolutely 100% free of pretentiousness, complicated ingredients, or any effort to present Italian cuisine as anything other than it really is, very simple.

Hope you enjoy reading my posts and maybe trying out some of the recipes.

Saturday, 29 August 2009

A Flavourful Tomato Sauce

Almost all Italians have their own version of a recipe for tomato sauce, this is our families version, and in my opinion (obviously), it is simply the best.  As this needs to be cooked for many hours, it is only something we make a few times a month at most. However like we do, you could make it in bulk and freeze it in portions, or simply keep it in the fridge for a few days.

Personally, I like this sauce served over al dente, 'Zitoni Napoletani', (long pasta tubes).  We break these into 2 inch pieces prior to cooking.  As always, don't overcook your pasta.


2 cheap, beef frying steaks,
2 garlic cloves, diced up
Handful of fresh flat leaf Parsley, chopped,

700g bottle of Passata.
2 tablespoons of Tomato Puree (also known as tomato paste, or tomato concentrate)
1 teaspoon of a dry mix of oregano, and thyme
1 bay leaf
Some water (200ml Approx),
Salt and Pepper,
Pinch of Sugar,


-Get the two pieces of cheap Beef, frying steak, lay one flat on a board, into the middle of it, put some chopped garlic, some chopped fresh parsley. Now roll the steak up, and tie it up with some cotton (yes, any colour is fine). Repeat this process for the second steak.

-In a deep pan, heat some olive oil on a medium high heat, once heated place the rolled steaks inside. Heat gently so to colour the meat slightly, next add the two tablespoons of tomato puree, stir in for a few minutes, then increase the heat slightly.  Next add a bottle of Passata sauce, add some water equivalent to approxmiately three quarters of the volume of the bottle you just added.

-With the heat still on a high heat, stir the sauce, seasoon with salt and pepper (about 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and 3-4 generous grinds of pepper), add the pinch of sugar, and add the herbs, bay leaf, then stir the sauce.

-When the sauce reaches almost boiling point, reduce the heat to a low simmer setting. What we are looking for is a gentle "clocking" simmer, when you are happy its very gently cooking, cover the pan with a lid, and leave alone for around 2 hours, or longer (just the occasional stir is needed).  You could quite safely go away and do something else, in Italy people would traditionally start making a sauce on Sunday morning, and during this period they would go to the church, or clean the house.

-After it has beens simmering for around the 2 hour mark, remove the lid, stir, and then increase the heat slightly, and cook until the sauce reduces to your preferred consistency.  Taste, and adjust seasoning to suit your taste.

-Serve sauce with cooked pasta, and serve with freshly grated parmesan over the top.

As mentioned the leftover sauce, can be cooled and frozen for later use, or left in the fridge for a few days if you want to eat pasta again. Incidentally as is often the case, this sauce can be the base for many other dishes. Some of which I will list later. The steak can be eaten, either seperately or combined into the pasta dish. By the way,  in case your wondering why I recommended cheap steak within the sauce, that is because normally even a cheap cut, will taste as great as a more expensive cut, if gently cooked for hours in an acidic base sauce such as this one. Feel free to experiment. Enjoy!


Anonymous said...

You do not explain how to finish the sauce, so I want to make sure I understand -- is the meat just infusing the sauce and then you remove it or do you cut it up into the sauce at the end? Also, to clarify your terms -- what do you mean by "tomato puree", as opposed to passata -- tomato paste? Thanks!

Joe Ambrosino said...

Forgive this Italian-American for not knowing, but what is Passata sauce?

Luigi's said...

Sorry, yes forgot to mention about the meat. You can eat the meat, personally we don't normally. It is just a flavouring, in our household. However if we were using a good cut of meat, then I would certainly cut it up and add it into the sauce at the end, like a ragu style sauce. Sorry Tomato paste, Yes! For some reason it gets called Puree in the UK, along with concentrate. Thanks for asking the question..

Luigi's said...

Hello Joe, Passata sauce, is a smooth sauce, consisting of lightly cooked and sieved tomatoes. You could make it yourself by cooking some tomatoes, and then remove skins and seeds by passing through a sieve, or a passata machine.

Aleksandra said...

I love this recipe! I am pasta addicted.
I must say, that Italian cuisine is the best!

Anonymous said...

Hello from Boston, USA

I LOVE this site!

I cannot wait to try your sauce recipes. Especially the one with the beef in it. How cool to know how real Italians make this magic!

And I totally agree with you about simple, fresh cooking. It's the way to go.

Happy New year Luigi!


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