Today, I’d like to share the recipe for my favourite tomato sauce with you – my mum’s tomato sauce. This sauce is THE tomato sauce for me – I adore it! Over the years I’ve learnt to like and prepare the more minimalist (onion, garlic, tomato, basil) versions, but this is the tomato sauce I grew up with. You will notice that it is very different from Italian versions. The onions are browned (rather than cooked until translucent), together with carrot, and pepper. Garlic is added together with tomatoes (rather than with onions), and parsley and leaf of celery are used instead of basil.
Parsley (Petroselinum crispum) is a very important herb in Croatian, especially in Dalmatian cooking. It’s practically ubiquitous! We use it in meat and vegetable sauces, sprinkle it (together with garlic) over grilled fish – everywhere really! I’m submitting this post to Kalyn for the Weekend Herb Blogging event!
I must admit that this post is long overdue. The sauce was made during the summer, as a part of our zimnica, or winter foods, when the tomatoes were at their best. I had some issues with my posting photos plus slow Internet connection so I’m posting it only now. Unfortunately, the tomato season is finished here… If you can find them, plum tomatoes make a really nice thick sauce.
The pot you see below has the capacity of 9 litres! We make 2 or three of those! We always make a huge batch and freeze it for the winter. We use it with pasta, with polenta (it works really well! it’s one of my mum’s favourite dishes), or to make tomato risotto (simply add rice, and cook it in the sauce. I like to top it with yogurt.) Also, this is the sauce we use to make Stuffed Peppers (punjene paprike). Please note that you may need to scale up or down the recipe for the sauce, depending on how many peppers you’re making (details in the stuffed peppers post).
My mum’s tomato sauce OR Mamin sug od pomidora
SOURCE: Mum’s recipe
PREPARATION TIME: 5 – 10 min
COOKING TIME: 30 – 40 min
SERVES: 4 – 6
Vegetable or olive oil
2 – 3 onions, finely chopped
2 large carrots, grated
2 yellow or red peppers, chopped
1 kg tomatoes, chopped
1/2 bulb of garlic
Fresh Parsley, chopped
Fresh leaf of celery, chopped
1. Fry the onions, grated carrots and peppers until light to medium brown (but not burnt). Please don’t skip this step, it’s very important for the flavour of the dish.
2. Add tomatoes, garlic, leaf of celery and parsley.
3. Season to taste and add a little sugar. (I always add a little sugar when I’m cooking with tomatoes. This offsets the sourness of the tomatoes.)
4. Cook until the vegetables are soft, and colour of the sauce turns from bright red to a orange and red. Reduce the sauce to desired thickness.
5. Process the sauce so it becomes smooth. My mother uses a special kitchen gadget for this, but I’m not sure what the word is in English – perhaps tomato press or something like that. (Asked the hubby – he doesn’t know either) The gadget is used to process tomato sauce specifically. It looks like a type of grinder, you pour in the tomato sauce, turn the handle; out comes the smooth sauce, and in stays the tomato peel. That way there is no need to peel the tomatoes before cooking! Perfect!
Serve with pasta, with polenta, or make a risotto by adding some risotto rice to the sauce, and cooking it in the sauce. Don’t forget to stir often! I like this risotto with a bit of yogurt on top.