Simple Tomato Sauce: Sofrito - With a Touch of France

I'm cooking a fish, Lubina [sea bass], for dinner tonight and wanted a tomato sauce to go with it. Here's a simple simple one that beats the canned/jarred/boxed sauces all to hmmm. Normally this sauce uses onions but I had some shallots nearing the end of their shelf life and decided to do this "french" touch to use them up before it was too late. The tomatoes too were starting to get mushy so the decision to make tomato sauce was somewhat more forced than planned.

There's about 8½ minutes actual work in this sauce, including cleaning up. So it's no big deal.

  • ¼ C olive oil, virgin
  • 8 shallots, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 kg tomatoes, fresh, chopped [2#]
  • salt
  • 1 t sugar
  • 1 C dry white wine
  • 1 red pepper, deseeded
  1. Chop shallots, brunoise
  2. Oil into the bottom of a pan, medium high heat
  3. Add shallots, lower heat and sauté for 5 or 10 minutes; until translucent; stirring occasionally
  4. Meanwhile, smash and mince garlic
  5. Add to shallots; sauté; avoid browning/burning them; stirring occasionally
  6. Meanwhile, chop tomatoes somewhat at random
  7. Add to shallots & garlic, a good lick of salt & the sugar
  8. Stir around
  9. Simmer on low for 30 minutes
  10. Open the box of wine and have a glass (just one)
  11. Add wine to tomato stuff
  12. Crank heat up to high to get things up to temp then reduce to simmer on low for 3 hours
    • Covered, with the lid slightly askance
    • Adding a little wine if it threatens to get dry (but it won't)
  13. Stirring every 30 minutes for about 2 seconds
    • Finally, it will be saucy thickness
  14. Now you're done but you can remove the red pepper and run it through a passapuree (vegetable mill), or use a blender or stick mixer to smooth it out (I know I will)
  1. Use really good olive oil, and be generous, because it's not just for frying up the shallots and garlic but is part of the food aspect of this sauce.
  2. The shallots should sizzle when they first hit the pan; then reduce the heat to avoid browning too quickly.
  3. You'll see a change at some point in the shallots where they (suddenly?) reduce in volume. This means (I think) that you've broken down the cells, released the juices and that the liquid has started to evaporate. That's when to add the garlic.
  4. Let things sit in the pan and let the fire do its work. One thing the separates the pros from the amateurs/enthusiasts is the ability to leave things alone and let the food and the fire do their thing
I make sofrito a lot and you'll find mentions of it in this blog in several places


Rita at Timber Creek Farms Organics said...

Wil, I discovered your blog today by browsing, and I really love what you're doing! I, too, have a blog called "Ingredients" at . It's actually a blog for my job as VP of Marketing and sales for a company near Chicago, IL who does home delivery of organic foods. That said, I would love it if you would allow me to link to you. I think my readers would enjoy making the recipes you post, as I know I will. Thank you! Rita

willson said...

Rita: feel free to link. Use - it's shorter and clearer than the regular version.