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Cooking 101: Things You Should Master

The road to a great cooking proficiency is usually a fun one but too many times aspiring chefs find themselves not knowing where to start their trip to culinary excellence (or plain proficiency, whatever works for you.) This series attempts to bring some useful first steps to the beginner cook to make sure that you are well prepared to meet the demanding palates of friends and loved ones. So set aside a Sunday morning of leisure and take the mind of your summer school London or any other engagements and get ready for some cooking fun!

Tomato sauce

Basic Tomato Sauce

Ingredients for the Sachet: 2 bay leaves, 8 black peppercorns, 1 tablespoon of dried basil, 1 tablespoon of dried oregano, 1 tablespoon of dried thyme. Ingredients for the Sauce: 1 and 1/2 bulbs of garlic (peeled and chopped), 3 tablespoons of oils (olive is a safe bet), 2 cans of tomatoes (102 oz. each) including tomato juice, 5 cups of chicken stock (home made), 3 tablespoons of sugar.

Recipe: First, heat oil in a large pot (heavy bottomed for evenly distribution of heat) and saute the garlic. Drain the tomatoes and reserve the juice. While the garlic is still cooking start de-seeding the tomatoes (this will take a while) and add the tomatoes to the pot once the garlic is golden. You don't need to add all the tomato at once, keep adding it after de-seeding. Add the tomato juice, sachet, chicken stock and (optional) sugar. Bring to a boil. Then reduce the heat and simmer until the sauce is reduced by half. Sit tight since this will take from 2 to 3 hours. Make sure you stir every so often to avoid burning the sauce. Get ready to enjoy one of the best tomato sauces you've ever tried before! It's easy to do but it will take you some time the first time you try it. I promise you, you won't go back to canned sauces ever again.

Basic Tomato Sauce | FinestChef.com

This time we start with one of the basic tools of Italian cuisine. We will skip pass the coveted cheesecake today and learn you a true Swiss knife of cooking: the basic tomato sauce. A great item to have at hand, this Salsa Di Pomodoro (as it is usually called) or "Italian Gravy" is the start (and the star piece) of many recipes and thus learning it will multiply the results you will get with other foods. The beauty of the tomato sauce is the number of easy pasta sauces you can make from it (just add some Parmesan cheese and you're set): add sauteed mushrooms, sausage, chopped beef, or vegetables and you have yourself the base for a delicious meal in almost no time at all.