I make a really simple, but really tasty, tomato sauce. It consists of tomatoes, garlic, basil, salt & pepper, and a bay leaf. With such a simple recipe, it’s really important that you’re using the absolute best ingredients. And, since tomatoes are the star of this sauce, you’d better use the best tomatoes you can find: San Marzano tomatoes.
It used to be that you could only find them at Italian grocery stores, but they even have them at major grocery stores now. They’re deeper and richer in flavour, and have much less water than regular canned tomatoes. They’re also a deeper red.
Using these tomatoes, the resulting sauce is thick and rich. It’s so good that you want to eat it by the spoonful. In addition to anywhere you’d normally use tomato sauce (pasta and pizza), it’s also delicious with hard-boiled eggs.
Heston Blumenthal did a whole show about these tomatoes, and determined that you need to have canned San Marzano tomatoes. Something about the canning process – probably the heat – does something to their flavour that even outperforms fresh San Marzano tomatoes.
And don’t think that I’m just being a food snob here. Once you taste a great tomato sauce, you’ll never go back to anything else. For example, one time, in a pinch, I used regular canned tomatoes. The resulting mess was watery, pale and not at all what I wanted. It made me sad. I never want to feel that kind of sad ever again.