Making things from scratch is so great because that way you know exactly what's going into your food and then your body. Sweet, tangy and layered tomato sauce with basil and a bunch of veggies. So great and easy to make!
Tomato sauce is just one those things that I always grew up eating. My mom had jars and jars of it in the pantry so she could make a quick meal in a pinch if necessary. Even now with meal prepping, tomato sauce is often in the plan. It ties in meals so nicely and can truly be so versatile.
Most people think of tomato sauce and automatically go to Italian but don't forget Greek food, Indian food or Mexican food. The possibilities are endless. This particular sauce starts off with a mire poix, which is a blend of carrots, celery and onion. Mire poix often starts many soups and sauces and creates a wonderful, aromatic and flavorful base.
Then we continue from there with some earthy mushrooms which create a meaty flavor for the sauce and add umami. If you really want your sauce to taste like its been cooking down for days and days replace your chicken broth with some beef broth to create a deeper flavor. I put chicken broth just to make it a little lighter but both work perfectly!
Lastly, we round out the sauce with acidity from red wine and lemon juice and some sweetness from sugar. Tomato sauce, or any sauce for that matter, completely embodies the balance you seek from food. That balance comes from incorporating the following tastes that our palettes can pick up on: sweet, bitter, sour, salty, umami, cool, and hot.
When creating a balanced dish you want to touch upon these tastes to really pack a punch. In this sauce the ingredients can be arranged as followed
Sweet - onion, carrot, basil, tomato and sugar
Bitter - oregano and bay leaf
Sour - red wine and lemon juice
Salty - salt! and broth
Umami - tomatoes, mushrooms, olive oil and butter
Cool - celery
Hot - pepper
Seeing this list you can better understand how recipes are formed. Sure a lot of the times it is just throwing things together and taste checking, but even that comes from years of using the same spice and vegetable blends which has helped form an understanding! Traditional food, after all, is traditional because it is well done and delish! Next time you make a recipe or start planning a dish try and divide your ingredients into the 7 tastes and see where you may be lacking and what you might need more of in order to achieve balance!
Any who, enjoy this tomato sauce. Hopefully next time you reach for a jar or tomato sauce for your meal it'll be a jar of your own!