Tomato sauce is a staple in Italian cuisine. The use of tomato sauce dates back to Italy in the 1700s and has been enjoyed around the world since then.
There's so much to learn about authentic Italian tomato sauce, but we'd like to tell you about the Dagostino way...
- What makes Dagostino tomato sauce special?
What does “tomato sauce” mean? And why should you make it?
Tomato sauce refers to a semi-solid topping or side added to a dish. It’s primarily made of tomatoes, seasonings and other vegetables. It’s very different from a tomato condiment. Use tomato sauce as a way to coat pasta with flavor or to add extra texture and flavor to a meal.
What's the difference between tomato sauce, spaghetti sauce and marinara sauce?
The difference between tomato sauce and spaghetti sauce is mainly the consistency.
Tomato sauce is more runny because of the water content compared to spaghetti sauce. While cooking a tomato sauce, you might see the water break out of the tomatoes, creating this consistency. Tomato sauce has chunks of fresh tomatoes, compared to Spaghetti sauce. Spaghetti sauce texture is thick, smooth and similar to tomato paste.
The difference between tomato sauce and Marinara sauce is the way it’s prepared.
Marinara is a very quick and simple sauce to make. In contrast, tomato sauce is simmered for hours and has a much more complex taste.
How do you make authentic tomato sauce from scratch?
Our tomato sauce recipe is simple, yet authentic. When we start, we first heat some olive oil in our large pot and add chopped onions. Then we cook the onions down until they’re translucent or even browned. Browned or “caramelized” onions means the heat is releasing all of the natural sugars found in onions. Next we add our garlic. We let the onion and garlic saute for a minute or two on medium heat, then we add seasonings.
One of the most important seasonings we add is red pepper flakes. As the dried red pepper simmers, their oils are released. These oils coat the other ingredients which brings a nice heat to the sauce.
If you're a home cook, you will need to add some sugar at this point. Many skip this step because they think sugar is going to make this sauce sweet. Really the sugar is used to balance the acid and ripe taste from the tomatoes. We use honey instead of sugar, and let it cook down for about 20 minutes.
We add our tomatoes, reduce the heat, and let it cook for about 45 minutes. When the tomatoes cook down a bit, scoop some of the tomatoes out and place them in a mixer with basil. After the tomato and basil is pureed together we add it back to our pot to finish cooking.
If you're preparing this at home, take some boiling water from your pasta and add into your sauce. This will help the sauce bind to the pasta once it’s served. Once the pasta sauce is finished, add salt and pepper to your liking.
What can you add to elevate tomato sauce?
As mentioned before, we add honey to our sauce to reduce the acid of the tomatoes. The honey we use is reduced down to a caramel and it adds a layer of depth in a dish.
Another way you can enhance your sauce is to add meat. Adding an ingredient like italian sausage brings the element of oil and fat into a sauce. The flavorings of fennel, pork, and pepper creates a really remarkable flavoring in tomato sauce. Try adding meatballs made with italian sausage to elevate your pasta sauce.
Is tomato sauce healthy?
Tomato sauce is moderately healthy compared to heavier sauces.
Anything can be healthy in moderation, but tomato sauce can sometimes have high sugar and sodium. To avoid this, the best solution is to prepare at home, so you know exactly what’s in your sauce and can tailor it to your liking.
What's a good substitute for tomato sauce?
If you're looking for something easier than simmering tomatoes for hours, there’s a lot of options.
If you still want to prepare something at home:
Saute some fresh tomatoes and olive oil along with onions or shallots. Add garlic, white wine, and red pepper flakes. Cook until the sauce is a slightly thick but runny sauce. This results in a lighter and quicker version of homemade tomato sauce.
If you're not a fan of tomato sauce in general, pesto sauce is a great option to pair with pasta
If you're looking for something more convenient but just as delicious:
Try one of our Dagostino tomato sauces! We offer our authentic sauce blends in smooth, chunky, and spicy.
What makes Dagostino tomato sauce special?
Our sauces have all the flavors of authentic italian cuisine plus all the convenience of a store-bought jarred sauce. Not only do we have all the flavor of simmering tomatoes for hours, but our ingredients make it taste just as fresh as home cooking.
Our chefs are there every step of the creating process. From raw ingredients to labeling, our chefs are there to insure the highest quality of sauce is going into every jar. We use ingredients like honey, fresh garlic, and Stanislaus tomatoes which really make our sauce special.
Honey brings a depth to the sauce while also balancing the acidity of the Stanislaus. We use the Stanislaus tomatoes instead of typical grocery tomatoes to keep our sauce tasting fresh. Stanislaus tomatoes are picked in California when they’re perfectly ripe, and then they are canned to keep fresh.
Tomato sauce is a wonderful choice for any meal, we hope you consider trying one of ours.