TTI Top 5 Tips – cooking the perfect pasta tomato sauce

When someone says Italian food to you… whats the first thing that pops into your head? It’s common knowledge that most people here in the UK would say pasta, pizza or anything with a tomato sauce. The tomato red sauce has been associated with Italian cooking for years. Over the last few years, I have felt it’s been my mission to share with you all the other amazing foods my beloved fatherland has to offer. However, there is one thing I can’t deny you; the culinary pleasure you do get from a simple bowl of pasta and tomato sauce. Hands down it’s still one of my all time favourite Italian dishes.

In todays post, I am sharing with you my top 5 cooking tips to cook and serve the perfect pasta tomato sauce with tinned tomatoes. In true TTI fashion, its straightforward and quick recipe so why not bring some pasta tomato sauce heaven into your life.

Pasta tomato sauce
Pasta tomato sauce

Pasta Tomato sauce (2-3 people)

  • 2 tins of San Marzano peeled tomatoes
  • 3 garlic cloves, whole and peeled
  • Salt
  • Sugar
  • Olive oil
  • Fresh Basil, 10-12 leaves
  • Lemon

Top 5 Tips to cooking Pasta tomato sauce

  • Using the correct tomatoes makes all the difference. Using whole peeled tomatoes, or even better, San Marzano tomatoes which are made up of more pulp than juice and seeds will give the best flavour and consistency for a tomato sauce – Add the tomatoes whole to a sauce pan, and add the garlic whole, a good pinch of salt and sugar. Cover and cook on a low/medium heat for 30 minutes. Keep an eye on it, you don’t want it to dry out. Add a little water if needed.
  • BREAK the tomatoes with wooden spoon. The sauce will have reduced down to delicious creamy consistency. The garlic will have also melted at this point so it will be richly flavoured. Cook for another 5 minutes, take it off the heat and let it cool down.
  • In Puglia, they serve their tomato sauce with cheese, which is the opposite in Naples, Campania. Its perceived as food faux pas in those ends. In Puglia, they traditionally serve it with grated cacio ricotta (a cow and sheeps milk hard ricotta cheese), which you should be able found at you local Italian delicatessen. However, grated parmesan or pecorino gives the sauce a great flavour dimension. I like to add the cheese as soon as the sauce is cooked and stir it through.
  • Next, we add the fresh basil to the sauce and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. Stir through.
  • Cook the pasta, drain, add to the tomato sauce and mix together until all the pasta is coated evenly. Finally, the secret ingredient (from the half Sicilian Geordie I recently went on a date with) is to finish the dish with grated unwaxed lemon zest. It brings all the flavours together and really uplifts the dish to something truly special.