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Salsa di Pomodorini Pachino

Cherry Tomato / Arrabiata Sauce

This sauce (more commonly using larger tomatoes instead of cherry tomatoes) is the basis of many dishes including Arrabiata sauce and Amatriciana sauce.

Cherry Tomatoes

When should I make it?

Whenever you find good quality Italian cherry tomatoes buy plenty and make lots of this sauce!

Tomatoes are in season mid to late summer (mid June - late October).

It's the sort of sauce you can use in many dishes so I always like to keep some in the fridge and also freeze some for when they're not in season.

If you're passionate about good quality tomatoes then Click Here!

How long will it take?

The sauce should take no longer than about 10-15 minutes depending on whether you use onions. This really is a simple recipe but it is the basis for so many Italian dishes. - Just be sure to use the best Italian tomatoes you can find! 

As simple as this recipe is, it is surprising how so many people can't seem to get it right! More often than not it is down to the quality of the tomatoes. Get this right and you are on the road to success for so many other dishes for which a good tomato sauce is the foundation.

What ingredients do I need?

  • Cherry tomatoes (or any good quality Italian tomatoes in season)
  • Chopped basil
  • Seasoning – Sea Salt & Black Pepper
  • Olive oil
  • Garlic (optional)
  • Chili (optional)
  • Onion (optional)
I have deliberately left out quantities above as the amounts are really up to your taste in this recipe. My advice is to use as many tomatoes as you can get your hands on and make as much of this sauce as you can as it is the basis for so many dishes!

Can I use any alternatives if I can't find certain ingredients?

Pachino tomatoes are from Sicily and deliciously sweet. If you cannot find them, you could make the sauce with any good quality Italian tomatoes. 

If tomatoes are out of season then use tinned Italian tomatoes (preferably San Marzano variety if you can get them).

What preparation do I need to do / what can I do in advance?

Other than slicing the tomatoes there is no preparation. If you are using larger tomatoes you may want to remove the skins. This can be done by scoring each tomato with a knife and leaving for about 30 seconds in hot (boiled) water to loosen the skins and thereby allowing you to peal them more easily.

What are the main steps?
  1. Heat the olive oil in the pan and add the garlic and onion (if using). Keep the heat medium and don't allow the garlic to go brown as it will taste bitter. If using onion it should be cooked until soft but don't allow to burn or colour.
  2. Add the tomatoes and allow to cook for a few minutes before reducing the heat to low.
  3. Reduce down to the consistency of sauce you need.
  4. Finally add chopped fresh basil.

Are there any variations to this recipe that I could try?

To make arrabiata sauce simply add chili to taste.

To make amatriciana sauce simply add chopped pancetta and allow to cook before adding the tomatoes.

I sometimes add a little chicken stock to it to prevent it getting too thick or to add extra flavour. This is especially good if I can't get hold of really good quality tomatoes. However, the best tomatoes will not need this and their flavour will speak for itself! 

Once you have this basic tomato sauce you can then use it as a base for numerous other sauces and dishes or on pizza bases.

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