Naples has the unenviable reputation as being the first city in the world to make the ripe tomato popular in its cuisine but also exporting it throughout the world.
In the sixteenth century, the first tomatoes that arrived from South America were small and yellowish. They were called pomodoro, which means golden apple in Italian.
During the beginning of the nineteenth century, the Neapolitans had developed the tomato, allowing it to become red and juicy before cooking with it.
An entirely new way of cooking was developed using the tomato. Tomatoes were added to meat, fish and vegetable dishes, but most favourably to pasta.
San Marzano tomatoes are considered the finest tomatoes for preparing all the different tomato sauces of the Campania region.
These tomatoes have a distinctive ‘oval’ shape with a shiny red colour. They are not overly sweet and do not have an after taste. They are grown in the region of Salerno in the area between Sarno and Nocera.
Campania Food & Wine only use authentic San Marzano tomatoes in its passata from Fattoria Terranova.
1 Jar of Fattoria Terranova Passata 1pt/660mL
1 medium sized carrot, scraped and cut into small pieces
2 large red peeled onions
1 celery, cut into small pieces
2oz/60g unsalted butter
2fl oz/60mL Fattoria Terranova Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 dozen fresh basil leaves torn into thirds
Place the passata, carrots, one of the onions, coarsely chopped and the celery into deep sauté pan over medium heat. Cover the pan and cook for 25 minutes, stirring often with a wooden spoon to make sure nothing is sticking to the bottom. After about 10 minutes into cooking, turn the heat down to a simmer.
Finely chop the remaining onion and transfer to a new pan. Add the butter and the olive oil. Set the pan over a medium heat and lightly sauté until the onion becomes translucent.
Add the tomato mixture, season with salt and lots of pepper. Add the basil and simmer for at least 25 minites more. The tomato sauce is now ready to be used.