Note that you are in the Eating In Greece section of Biterkin.
This rich tomato sauce makes the best of seasonal fresh grape tomatoes – called velanidia (βελανίδι=acorn) in Greek. All instructions and ingredients in the recipe are vital for a thick sauce, so do not change anything. Adding lots of water, just to boil it out afterward results in a deeply flavoured sauce. Adding mustard elevates the flavours to another level; and it acts as an emulsifier for the olive oil and tomato juices, resulting in a thicker sauce, which thoroughly coats the pasta.
Pasta with Triple Tomato Sauce
We use canned tomato juice for this recipe, but you can also use fresh tomatoes instead. You will find instructions under the recipe.
Yields Triple Tomato Sauce for 4 portions
(we like our pasta thoroughly coated in sauce, hence the huge amount of tomato sauce)
1) For the tomato sauce:
- 2 tsp. yellow mustard of choice
- 750 gr 100 % Tomato Juice*
- 80 ml extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tsp. natural sea salt, or to taste
- ½ tsp. ground pepper (NOT freshly ground pepper), or to taste
- ½ tsp garlic powder (optional)
*on choosing Tomato juice: ideally look for the one labeled “Ντομάτα στον Τρίφτη” (meaning “Grated Tomato”), otherwise any other tomato juice will do
2) For the Slow-Roasted Velanidia Tomatoes:
(This batch makes more than needed for this recipe, but you can use any leftovers for your salads, sandwiches etc. They store well in the refrigerator, for up to 10 days.)
- 500 gr velanidia (grape) tomatoes, cut in half
- 2-3 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil, or to coat
3) For the Fresh Velenidia Tomatoes:
- 16 fresh Velanidia Tomatoes, cut in half
- Olive oil to coat, salt and pepper
To serve with the pasta:
- Grated cheese of choice – best Greek cheese recommended is Ξερή Μυζήθρα(Dry Mizithra), sold in sachets or in the cheese section in most Greek supermarkets- other options are Γραβιέρα (graviera) or any other grated hard or semi-hard cheese available
Step 1 – Prepare the Slow Baked Velanidia Tomatoes
Preheat oven to 160º C ( fan setting, if available ) / 320º F.
In a large bowl put the halved cherry tomatoes, along with the olive oil and minced garlic. Stir gently to coat with the oil. Tip for using the right amount of oil: you need just enough to coat them and create a thin layer in the bottom of the bowl. Avoid adding too much. Add salt and pepper to taste, stir.
Using a silicone spatula to scrape the oil from the bowl, pour everything onto a baking tray – not aluminium, as it may react with the acidity of the tomatoes. Turn the tomatoes cut side up.
Pop into the preheated oven and bake for 1 ½ hour or until caramelized and a dark red colour. Do not stir.
Let them cool on the tray. When cooled, scrape them gently off the pan using a spatula
Storing: in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 1 week.
Step 2 – Prepare the Tomato Sauce
Put the mustard in a cup and set aside.
In a large saucepan put the tomato juice, water, olive oil, salt, pepper and garlic, if using. Place over medium to high heat, and bring to the boil, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon.
When it comes to a full boil, pour a ladle of the hot sauce onto the mustard and stir well with a fork, for the mustard to dissolve. Pour all the content of the cup into the saucepan and stir well.
Let the sauce boil till it has reduced to half, when most of the water has evaporated and the sauce has considerably thickened. Towards the end of the cooking process, you should stir more often, paying attention to scraping the bottom of the saucepan with flat edged spatula , where the sauce will be more prone to stick to the bottom and burn, if it stays unattended.
When ready, remove from the heat.
Storing: in the refrigerator, in an airtight container, for up to 4 days. Warm over medium heat before using, adding a ladle from the pasta water and stirring well. Wait until the pasta water has evaporated and the sauce has thickened again, before removing from the heat.
Step 3 – Serve
Cut the fresh velanidia tomatoes in half and put in a bowl. Add some olive oil, natural sea salt and pepper and stir to coat.
To serve, have all the components prepared and ready:
- the tomato sauce warm, in the saucepan
- the slow roasted velanidia tomatoes at room temperature, in a bowl
- the fresh velanidia tomatoes in their bowl
- and the mill with the whole pepper
To serve, arrange some boiled pasta on a plate, add a generous amount of tomato sauce, scatter a handful of slow roasted Velanidia tomatoes and a quarter of the prepared fresh Velanidia tomato halves, sprinkle with grated cheese to your liking and ground whole pepper over the top.
To use fresh tomatoes, start by removing their skin and seeds, then pulsing them in a food processor. Although I cannot be quite sure of the amount of fresh tomatoes required. I would start with 1,5 kg fresh tomatoes; if you give it a try, let us know in the comments. Proceed by adding half the amount of water asked in the recipe.