Tuesday, May 31, 2011
Tuscan Cooking: Canned Tomatoes
Quick and simple pasta is a must in my home; therefore, Jimmy and I took a cooking class in Tuscany. To my delight, we learned that northern Italian cooking includes canned tomatoes! Maybe all these years I have been cooking like a true Italian. Our instructor told us that Italians avoid fresh tomatoes because they contain too much water for a thick sauce. San Marzano whole peeled tomatoes are the tomatoes of choice because they don't contain extra ingredients, and this is consistent with the Tuscan tradition -- simple cooking. As soon as I got home, I immediately went to Whole Foods and stocked up. I made a red pasta sauce this weekend, and the San Marzano tomatoes didn't disappoint. (More on how to make a Tuscan red sauce later this week.)
Here are a few other Tuscan secrets.
(1) Use either garlic or onion in your sauce, NOT both! And cook it simultaneously with extra virgin olive oil to prevent burning.
(2) Use a noodle pasta for red sauce, and shell or penne for white because it can hold the creamy sauce.