Seafood With Red Sauce, Salivating Yet?
Tomato sauce is such a versatile food that could be used for pizza, lasagna, mussels marinara, on polenta or simply over pasta.
Sicilian Tomato Pie with Pecorino Romano Cheese
When tomatoes have been slowly simmered and cooked with olive oil the nutritional value explodes in the final product.
Tomato Sauce Highlighted With Fresh Basil
Cooking and oil breaks down the tomato cell walls releasing the antioxidant lycopene into the sauce. Six times the amount of lycopene is released in the cooked verses uncooked. Tomatoes also contain glutathione, another powerful antioxidant that lowers the risk of cancer. Looking at all the research targeting cooked tomatoes brings together a lower risk of blood clots, keeping eyes healthy and helping keep mental facilities in check.
There are many red sauces on the market so how do you choose? First thing, make sure you bypass any sauce that is not enclosed in glass. Red sauce is very acidic. Acid causes the packaging that it’s contained in to start breaking down with time. The longer the product sits on the supermarket shelf or yours, the more chance of plastic remnants leaching into the liquid.
The best tasting packaged sauces are the ones with the highest quality ingredients and that have been simmered for a lengthy period of time. Expect to pay the most for these sauces, but you’ll notice the taste is much more amazing. Sodium and fat levels are sometimes higher in these products. Here are some of my favorites:
Taste Brings You To Another Level Up On Bottled Red Sauces
Rao Homemade Marinara is top shelf but probably the most expensive. When you taste it you will understand why they charge so much more; excellent for use on bruschetta.
Another Fantastic Sauce But Empties The Wallet Out Faster
Dell’Amore is another high-priced flyer that is delicious. The taste is out of this world.
Food Network Featured Chief That Ups The Ante On Red Sauces
Mario Batali’s marinara sauce is spectacular but also priced higher than most.
There are also less expensive brands that are of high quality.
Giada De Laurentis, which has a tomato basil variety that’s half the price than the most expensive sauces. The only disadvantage is the sodium and fat content, which is high.
A healthier and inexpensive sauce is Victoria Marinara.
Eden and Muir Glen make some low sodium and low-fat products that are very good.
The least expensive yet good, are Classico and Bertolli brands. If you are trying to keep sodium and saturated fat levels low, please read the labels because some of the varieties are quite high.
Sauce Stuff To Think About:
1. Serving size is 1/2 cup. Check the sodium and fat for that serving size. Read label carefully.
2. For a healthy sauce look for no more than 300-400 mg of sodium per serving
3. The saturated fats should be no more than 4 grams for the serving size.
4. Calories shouldn’t go over 100 per serving.
5. The more expensive sauces (listed) are the highest quality ingredients and cooked very slowly.
7. Don’t fall for the healthy heart labeling. Don’t believe claims on a label that has “added vegetables” or “no sugar added”. Pure marketing with no nutritional value added to the product.
8. Just because a red sauce is more expensive, doesn’t necessarily make it taste better.
9. Always purchase sauce in glass containers.
If you would like to make your own sauce, here is a recipe from Food Network by Giada De Laurentis. Easy to make and has been rated five stars.
Simple Tomato Sauce
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 (32-ounce) cans crushed tomatoes (Use San Marzano plum tomatoes if available)*
4 to 6 basil leaves
2 dried bay leaves
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, optional (Nix the butter for lower saturated fat)*
* I specified that type of tomato for her recipe and nixing the butter.
In a large casserole pot, heat oil over medium high heat. Add onion and garlic and saute until soft and translucent, about 2 minutes. Add celery and carrots and season with salt and pepper. Saute until all the vegetables are soft, about 5 minutes. Add tomatoes, basil, and bay leaves and simmer covered on low heat for 1 hour or until thick. Remove bay leaves and check for seasoning. If sauce still tastes acidic, add unsalted butter, 1 tablespoon at a time to round out the flavors.
Add half the tomato sauce into the bowl of a food processor. Process until smooth. Continue with remaining tomato sauce.
If not using all the sauce, allow it to cool completely and pour 1 to 2 cup portions into freezer plastic bags. This will freeze up to 6 months.
If using pasta as an entrée rather than a side dish, serve with 3 vegetables. Start the meal off with a nice salad of mixed greens and homemade dressing (olive oil, seasoning and blue cheese crumbles). Make your evening meal creative and exciting.