Greetings and salutations to all the friends and subscribers of my blog! It is I, Agostino Vitiello, welcoming you once again to the World of Pizza. Today our discussion will be about one of the greatest cornerstones in the making of pizza. I am of course talking about the significance of tomato sauce.
In today’s society, tomato sauce and Italian cuisine have become as inseparable as fish and chips, bangers and mash, or peanut butter and jelly. But did you know that tomato sauce is actually a young addition to the entire Italian culinary heritage? It may be hard to believe at first, because nowadays almost every other Italian dish on the menu seems to use tomato sauce as its key ingredient. However, this fantastic component only became a staple in Italian cooking during the mid to late 16th Century.
Part of the misconception between tomato sauce and Italian cooking stems from the assumption that the tomato has always been a European fruit (yes, it’s not a vegetable – another myth busted!). My dear readers, it’s not. Tomatoes are actually not indigenous to Europe, having only been brought over by the Spanish Conquistadors from Peru. But that’s not all! The bright red bulbs took quite a long time to gain acceptance as part of the dining table, having initially been thought to be poisonous due to their erroneous association with the deadly nightshade family of plants. Quite the complicated history there, my friends.
And in the history of this once-misunderstood and yet equally-marvellous ingredient, it first gained recognition in the cookbook of a certain famous Neapolitan chef named Antonio Latini, who was the chef to the Spanish viceroy of Naples – establishing how this Spanish import came to become one of Italy’s culinary treasures.
Once the tomato found its way into Italian kitchens across the country, it became an integral part of many dishes, including that of pizza. It earned the name pomodoro, which means “apple of gold,” partly because the yellow-coloured variety resembled a golden apple, and partly because of its taste and versatility in the kitchen. Truly an amazing discovery!
Speaking of versatility, tomatoes can be used in a wide variety of ways: it can be eaten raw, steamed whole, sliced thinly, diced, or it can be turned into an excellent topping of pizza!
Of all the varieties of tomatoes out there, in the making of pizza sauce, nothing beats the San Marzano tomato. Frequent visitors of my blog know very well the importance and emphasis I put on using quality ingredients, first and foremost. In this particular case, even the choice of tomatoes can make a huge difference between a mediocre pizza and a truly stellar one. To those out there who are genuinely passionate about their making of pizza, I’m sure you know what I mean.
Today, San Marzano tomatoes enjoy the prestige of being among those with a Protected Designation of Origin (PDO). Like the other pizza toppings with this status, you are assured of top-notch results in the kitchen when you use these.
Avid consumers of tomato sauce also get to enjoy many of its health benefits. The 2 most notable of these are its high amounts of Vitamin C and Lycopene – which helps boost the immune system and fight cancer. Wonderful isn’t it? And what better way to enjoy all these, than with a slice or two of a freshly made authentic Neapolitan pizza?
Well, that’s it for today! I hope you learned something valuable and had a great time reading this. Thank you for stopping by my blog and stay tuned for more insights and information into the World of Pizza. Feel free to leave a comment below, and subscribe to our newsletter for exclusive privileges and free recipes. Until next time, this is your friend, Agostino Vitiello saying, “Ciao!”