martedì 13 maggio 2014

Tomato sauce

In past times it was use and custom to prepare, with the home grown summer fruits, the preserves for the winter. The tomato, for example, was transformed in: "chiappe[1]"; peeled tomatos; "strattu" (tomato paste home-made) and naturally in sauce. It could not miss in the pantry a consistent stockpile of the tasty sauce of the juicy and red vegetable.
Today some willing housewife still prepares "a sarsa[2]". I am among these, so much that many my friends believe I am nut.
Well, perhaps I also will be also so a little, but the taste of this sauce is hardly comparable to that of the commercial tomato purée.
The recipe that I write you I have learned from the mother of my mother, the Nonna Nella[3] - which called Francesca Margherita in truth, but in the large families is accustomed to give some nicknames to differentiate the cousins, that often had the same name of baptism - polished woman, delicate drawer and great cook.
Not you must necessarily cook a lot quantity of it to make preserve. You can do few quantity of it and serve it with the spaghetti or with the shape of pasta that more you like, even adding fried dices eggplants, basil and the salt-cured ricotta cheese. So you will realize one of the first more famous Sicilian dishes, a real artwork: the "Pasta alla Norma"[4].
With the ingredients indicated in the recipe you will realize around two bottles of 800 ml each one.

Ingredients: 3 kg. of vine-ripened tomato; 1 kg. of onions; 5-6 cloves of red garlic of Nubia; 1 leaf of laurel; 1 bunch of basil; extra virgin oil of olive; salt and pepper; 2 spoons of sugar (optional)
Procedure: Eliminate the stem of the tomatoes and wash them. Peel the onions and cut in big pieces. Wash the garlic without peeling it.
Now put all the ingredients in a big pot and make to cook for about 10 minutes to naked flame, often mixing for avoiding that it sticks to the bottom.

Continue the cooking for another hour or till when the tomato won't result well cooked. Remove from the heat and pass everything to the vegetable mill. Pour the purée gotten in another saucepan and make to cook for around half an hour, tasting it and season to taste (it is optionally able also to correct the acidity with the addition of some sugar). To this point "a sarsa" it is ready and you can be put on jar.

For the long-life conservation. You can make in two ways: with the pasteurization -  making to boil the jars of sauce entirely immersed in a great pot for at least 40 minutes - or, as I do it, putting back upside-down the jars in a great container (an ample basin could be perfect) "muffles" in a heavy wool or pile cover and allowing to cool completely before putting in dispensation
I advise you, do of it good use.
Suggestions: To obtein a velvet sauce, whisk the sauce with an hand-blender.

[1] So is called the sun-dried tomato in Sicilian language.
[2] Tomato sauce in Sicilian language.
[3] Nonna in Italian language mean Grandmother. Nella is the diminutive of her name. I do not want translate in the text because the sound of this two words is too many sweet and tender for me.
[4] Norma in Catania is synonymous not only of Music but also of "non plus ultra" of everything: "Pari 'na Norma" (It seems a Norma in Sicilian language) it is the good compliment that can be received in that city, expression coined by the people of Catania to honor the art of Vincent Bellini. It seems whether to give the name "Norma" to the recipe has been Nino Martoglio (1870 -1921), the known playwright from Catania, that before to such a seasoned dish of pasta it exclaimed: "Chista è 'na vera Norma!" (This is a really Norma), to reveal its supreme goodness, comparing it to the masterpiece of the great composer Vincenzo Bellini.