Homemade Sauce w/Tuttorosso Tomatoes

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I’m so excited to share this post with you all. I had so much fun teaming up with Tuttorosso to take the Tuttorosso challenge. I also had the chance to create a delicious and healthy recipe using the winning tomatoes! Tomatoes used to be just tomatoes to me, but after this challenge, I’ll never look at tomatoes the same again!

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I think brand comparing is officially my new favorite hobby. This challenge taught me so much about tomatoes in so little time. It makes sense to me know why some people make better sauce than others.  The seasonings play a huge role in great sauce, but the tomatoes play a bigger role. Now I know what to look out for when using canned tomatoes.

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Today I am comparing Tuttorosso tomatoes and Hunt’s tomatoes.

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RED COLOR OF TOMATOES

My camera tends to make things look brighter, so I’m going off of my notes. The Tuttorosso tomatoes had a richer red and the Hunt’s tomatoes had tints of orange on them. The less the red (or more orange/yellow shades) they are, the less ripened they are.

UNIFORMITY OF THE SIZE OF TOMATOES

You want all the tomatoes to look pretty equal in size. The Tuttorosso tomatoes were pretty dead even and the Hunt’s tomatoes were small and big. The Hunt’s tomatoes were also flat and runny.

TOMATO INTEGRITY

You know a tomato is good when it is firm. You should be able to tell how firm they are by just looking at them. You don’t want a can with mushy tomatoes. The Tuttorosso tomatoes were super firm and the Hunt’s were all damaged and mushed. It looked like I Love Lucy stomped all over them.

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AMOUNT OF PEEL AND SEEDS PRESENT IN CAN

There were zero visible seeds in the Tuttorosso media (liquid) and several seeds in the Hunt’s can due to the broken tomatoes. They both did pretty well with the peel in my cans. I couldn’t find any.

MEDIA

The thicker the media (juice/liquid) the better! Tuttorosso took longer to pour because it was thicker and the Hunt’s was a bit watery. Once I sliced open the tomatoes, the Hunt’s had tons of water liquid ooze over to the other tomato. The Hunt’s juice also ran all the way to the corners of the container and the Tuttorosso didn’t reach the end (see picture 1 before I spread them out) .

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INTENSITY OF TOMATO FLAVOR & ATTRIBUTES

This is the fun part! I love the taste test. You want a tomato to be flavorful and taste garden fresh. The Hunt’s tasted a lot like the can and a bit watery. The Tuttorosso tomato was super flavorful with a firm texture.  I didn’t like the mushy texture of the Hunt’s tomato.

SCORE:
TUTTOROSSO: 32 .5
HUNT’S: 18

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The first time I had ever heard of Tuttorosso tomatoes was when Mr. Ralph had us run to the store to pick him up some tomatoes for his sauce. He specifically said “Tuttorosso”, because they play a huge role in making his sauce taste great.

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My favorite Italian dish is baked ziti and above is the first time I had ever tried Mr. Ralph’s sauce. He made baked ziti specifically for me because he knew it was my favorite. It is still my favorite meal to this day and no one has come close to making it as good as his.

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It was time to put the winning tomatoes to the ultimate test, the sauce test! Making sauce used to be such an intimidating thing to me, and now I’m just disappointed that I didn’t start making it sooner. I wasted so many years using the store-bought sauce. Making your own sauce is so much cheaper and healthier. I was pretty nervous to have my friend try my sauce because he grew up in a big Italian family where they take their sauce pretty seriously. His dad’s sauce is the best and blows every other sauce I’ve had out of the water. Funny enough, he only uses Tuttorosso tomatoes and has for years.

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To keep the meal healthy, I decided to use spaghetti squash and make turkey meatballs for the sauce. This is the perfect weeknight meal. It would go well paired with a tossed arugula salad in a garlic balsamic vinaigrette.

This is a very basic garlic tomato sauce recipe. You can customize it any way you’d like! Get fancy by adding all kinds of different vegetables or spices.

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Sauce Ingredients: (highly recommend doubling)

• 28 Ounce Can Peeled Plum Italian Style Tomatoes
• 4 Tablespoons Olive Oil
• 1 Bulb of Garlic, Chopped
• 2 Tablespoons Fresh Chopped Italian Parsley
• 4 Tablespoons Chopped Onion
• 1/2 Tablespoon Italian Seasoning
• 2 Teaspoons Garlic Powder
• 1/2 Teaspoon Fine Sea Salt
• 1/2 Teaspoon Black Pepper
• 1 Tablespoon Sugar (or you can use 1 tablespoon of honey as a healthier alternative)
• 1/4 Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese

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1. Add a tablespoon of olive oil to a large pan on medium-high heat. Add garlic powder, Italian seasoning, sea salt, and pepper. Give the tomatoes and seasoning a good stir and let them cook.

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2. Add the remaining olive oil to a smaller pan with the onion, Italian parsley, and chopped garlic. Cook on high heat until the garlic and onions are lightly brown.

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3. Add garlic infused olive oil to the pan with the tomatoes.

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4. Give the sauce a good mix and let it cook on high.

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5. Once the sauce starts to simmer, turn the heat to low and cover. Occasional stir every 5 minutes.

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6. After the sauce has been cooking for about thirty minutes, break up the large chunks of tomatoes. Add the parmesan cheese and sugar to the sauce and stir. Try the sauce and make sure it’s just right! Maybe it needs more garlic, sugar, or salt! You decide.

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Parmesan Turkey Meatball Ingredients:

• 1 1/2 Pounds Ground Turkey
• 1 Egg
• 2 Tablespoons Chopped Fresh Italian Parsley
• 1/4 Cup Italian Bread Crumbs
• 1/4 Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
• 4 Tablespoon Sautéed Onions
• 1/4 Teaspoon Garlic Powder
• 1/8 Teaspoon Salt
• 1/4 Teaspoon Pepper

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1.Add Parmesan, fresh Italian parsley, ground turkey egg, bread crumbs, pepper, and salt to a mixing bowl.

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2. Saute onions in a pan with a sprinkle of olive oil.

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3. Add onions to the mixing owl and combine all the ingredients.

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4. Form the mixture into giant meatballs. Each meatball equals about four tablespoons. Place the meatballs on a baking sheet and cook for 25-30 minutes at 350 degrees.

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The outsides of the meatballs will be slightly brown. I always cut one open to make sure the centers are fully cooked.

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You can cook the spaghetti squash in the oven or in the microwave. I took the faster route. I sliced the squash in half, scooped out the seeds and microwaved the squash for ten minutes.

I took a fork and scooped the squash into a bowl.

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You can serve the meatballs individually or slice them up and cover them in sauce.

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The sauce made the house smell so good. All the hungry tummy’s were hovering over.

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If you do not like squash, no worries! You can use any type of pasta.

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HOMEMADE GARLIC TOMATO SAUCE

INGREDIENTS:

• 28 Ounce Can Peeled Plum Italian Style Tomatoes
• 4 Tablespoons Olive Oil
• 1 Bulb of Garlic, Chopped
• 2 Tablespoons Fresh Chopped Italian Parsley
• 4 Tablespoons Chopped Onion
• 1/2 Tablespoon Italian Seasoning
• 2 Teaspoons Garlic Powder
• 1/2 Teaspoon Fine Sea Salt
• 1/2 Teaspoon Black Pepper
• 1 Tablespoon Sugar (or you can use 1 tablespoon of honey as a healthier alternative)
• 1/4 Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Add a tablespoon of olive oil to a large pan on medium-high heat. Add garlic powder, Italian seasoning, sea salt, and pepper. Give the tomatoes and seasoning a good stir and let them cook.
  2. Add the remaining olive oil to a smaller pan with the onion, Italian parsley, and chopped garlic. Cook on high heat until the garlic and onions are lightly brown.
  3. Add garlic infused olive oil to the pan with the tomatoes.
  4. Give the sauce a good mix and let it cook on high.
  5. Once the sauce starts to simmer, turn the heat to low and cover. Occasional stir every 5 minutes.
  6.  After the sauce has been cooking for about thirty minutes, break up the large chunks of tomatoes. Add the parmesan cheese to the sauce and stir. Try the sauce and make sure it’s just right! Maybe it needs more garlic, sugar, or salt! You decide.

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PARMESAN TURKEY MEATBALLS

INGREDIENTS:

• 1 1/2 Pounds Ground Turkey
• 1 Egg
• 2 Tablespoons Chopped Fresh Italian Parsley
• 1/4 Cup Italian Bread Crumbs
• 1/4 Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
• 4 Tablespoon Sautéed Onions
• 1/4 Teaspoon Garlic Powder
• 1/8 Teaspoon Salt
• 1/4 Teaspoon Pepper

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Add Parmesan, fresh Italian parsley, ground turkey egg, bread crumbs, pepper, and salt to a mixing bowl.
  2.  Saute onions in a pan with a sprinkle of olive oil.
  3. Add onions to the mixing owl and combine all the ingredients.
  4. Form the mixture into giant meatballs. Each meatball equals about four tablespoons. Place the meatballs on a baking sheet and cook for 25-30 minutes at 350 degrees. The outsides of the meatballs will be slightly brown. I always cut one open to make sure the centers are fully cooked.

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This was a huge hit. I was so nervous for my friend to try the sauce, but he said it was his second favorite (right below his dad’s) sauce! That was a huge compliment. He already has me making it on Tuesday night for all of his friends. This meal was so fresh, healthy, and filling. I’m so excited to make this sauce again with a seafood filled ravioli!

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I want to hear all about your sauce skills!

  1. Have you ever made homemade sauce before?
  2. Who makes your favorite sauce?
  3. What is your favorite Italian Dish?

Comments

  • Myra

    BEST SAUCE EVER!

    Reply to Myra
  • Kyli

    Wow this looks incredible! Can’t wait to try this recipe 🙂 Might try the sauce over some spiralized zucchini noodles too!

    Reply to Kyli
  • Sara

    This is the best sauce!

    Reply to Sara
  • Brittany Joy

    Made this tonight (minus meatballs) and it was delicious!! Thank you for the sauce recipe. However, I couldn’t find the Tutorossa tomatoes at either of the grocery stores I looked at. I bought the Meijer organic brand. This meal was a hit!

    Reply to Brittany Joy
  • Heather @ Polyglot Jot

    Yum! I was just thinking that I wanted to make my own sauce because im always buying the canned sauces! Looks so great!

    Reply to Heather @ Polyglot Jot
  • leslie

    Where would I find Tuttorossa tomatoes at? I live in Nebraska and have looked several places. The meal looks amazing!!!

    Reply to leslie
  • Brianna Rivera

    I’m making this tonight for my boyfriend and I! This is the first time I’m making homemade sauce instead of store bought. So excited to see how it tastes!!

    Reply to Brianna Rivera
  • Rachel

    This was such a great post! I had no idea tomatoes in a can could be so different. This sauce looks so delicious! I love how you used spaghetti squash to! that is my favorite way of eating any good tomato sauce! Thank you for amazing post again!

    Reply to Rachel
  • Erica

    I like your pictures/graphics! Your blog photography is definitely improving.

    The only comparison point I think is somewhat irrelevant is the uniformity of the shape/size of tomatoes. Real food is never unform or perfect; I’m sure you’ve had heirloom tomatoes before – they are ugly as hell, but always taste so much better than the pale, mealy tomatoes most stores/restaurants carry. I’m sure the brand gave you this as an evaluation point in their challenge, but just wanted to point it out to consider.

    Also – genuine question, why would the “integrity” of the tomatoes (so whether they are crushed or not) matter? I’m just curious, because when I plan to use them in a recipe, they all get cooked down or mushed up anyway. It’s neat that they come in one piece, so maybe it has to do with a different processing method, but I was just curious.

    Reply to Erica
    • Colt Reichart

      The integrity and uniformity show that Tuttorosso goes the extra mile in quality. All we make are tomato products and we take our quality very serious. We simply want to give you the very best tomatoes!

      Reply to Colt Reichart
  • Allison

    Thanks for the great recipes and info! I tried this out last night (unfortunately I couldn’t find Tuttorosso brand at my local store) but it still turned out great! My husband loved it, too! I definitely agree with your recommendation to double the sauce recipe! This will definitely be going into our normal dinner rotation. 🙂

    Reply to Allison
  • Jackie Arcuri

    Looks amazing.. definitely going to try this! Thank you:)

    Reply to Jackie Arcuri
  • Julia

    I always made my own sauces. I learned it that way from my Mom. We never had any store bought sauces, no matter what. A great trick is to make the sauces in large amounts and either freeze them (cream sauces) or to preserve them (vegetable sauces). That way you always have your own homemade sauces (which are also a great little present for visiting people)
    One of my favourite sauces is my own version of a pizzaiola. I fry garlic, onions and fres herbs (basil, rosemary, thyme) in some good evoo, add fresh peeled tomatoes, capers and real black olives (not the dyied green ones). I let it simmer for as long as possible, put it i a blender and add some fresh herbs, capers and olives for serving.
    I also love my dad´s homemade bbq sauce. So many ingredients, so much time cooking it, but the best thing ever!

    Reply to Julia
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Wow that all sounds amazing!! I need to come over to your house for dinner!

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
      • Julia

        That would be quite a far trip. I´m living in Duesseldorf, Germany. But you´re always welcome 😉

        Reply to Julia
  • Emily

    Tuttorosso cans have BPA in them 🙁 That’s a BIG check in the “cons” column when there are so many companies making canned tomatoes in safer cans…

    Reply to Emily
    • Colt Reichart

      Tuttorosso tomato products are NON GMO Project Verified, Non-BPA/BPS, No Artificial Colors, Flavors or Preservatives, Certified Kosher, Vegan, Gluten Free, Cholesterol & Fat Free, Allergen Free, Made in the USA, Grown Sustainably on Family Farms and 100% Delicious! Tuttorosso, a 4th generation family owned company!

      Reply to Colt Reichart
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Hi Emily!

      They use BPA free liners.

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Sarisha

    This looks SO delish, I can’t wait to try out the recipe!!!!

    Reply to Sarisha
  • Tara

    I have made my own sauce before, but it was pretty basic. Yours looks amazing! I can’t wait to try it and the turkey meatballs!

    Reply to Tara
  • Melissa

    Let the tummy grumbles begin 😀 haha
    This was an interesting post, thank you!! I don’t think I have seen Tuttorosso Tomatoes in Canada but you’ve made me really want to do a comparison of the brands we have here! I tend to just look for whichever can doesn’t include a ton of/any salt :p

    Reply to Melissa
  • Hilary

    Yum! I need to remember that brand next time I make sauce! My granny is full Italian and taught me her sauce recipe one summer, I love making it and can never seem to get enough of it!

    Reply to Hilary
  • Kaylin@EnticingHealthyEating

    Woah! You can really tell the difference in quality between the Tuttorosso tomatoes and the Hunt’s tomatoes. Crazy! I will be on the lookout for these.

    Reply to Kaylin@EnticingHealthyEating
  • Brooklyn

    Spaghetti has been my favourite food for as long as I can remember, so I’ve been making home made sauce for years!
    The recipe is my grandmothers, but I’ve made my own small changes to suit it better to my and my boyfriend’s tastes.
    Although my sauce pot (yes I have a specific pot for sauces haha) has finally kicked the bucket, so I need to go buy a new one!

    http://www.justbeingbrooklyn.com

    Reply to Brooklyn
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Homemade sauce is the best!

      It’s always fun to add your own special twist to a sauce!

      Everyone should have a sauce pan! Try home goods 🙂

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Kyla

    Awesome post! It is crazy the difference between the Tuttorosso and Hunts brands! Your recipes sound and look amazing! I will definitely try out these recipes (WITH the Tuttorosso tomatoes)! Yum! 🙂

    Reply to Kyla
    • Taralynn McNitt

      I couldn’t believe the difference either which makes me think about all the other brands! & Tuttorosso is cheaper!

      Let me know what you think of the recipe! xo

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Jenn

    Do you use one entire bulb of garlic or just one clove? Thank you!

    Reply to Jenn
  • Lindsay @ A Runnaroundd Life

    Ok. Well now I’m officially hungry. Looks so delicious! 🙂

    Reply to Lindsay @ A Runnaroundd Life
  • Alyssa

    This looks delicious! And your photography is beautiful! I love the natural lighting.

    Reply to Alyssa
  • shanna

    I have made many, many types of sauce. I’m actually trying a new recipe in the slow cooker tomorrow or Thursday.

    the best sauce I’ve ever had was at a now defunct Italian restaurant. the other was made by my ex-boyfriend’s mom. I should probably find a suitable sauce that I can actually eat again. heh.

    lasagna is my favorite.

    Reply to shanna
  • Angela

    Baked ziti is one of my favorite Italian dishes as well! Also, I loved reading about the difference between Hunts tomatoes and Tuttorosso tomatoes- I would love to see more brand comparisons in the future!

    Reply to Angela
  • arielle

    Hey Tara! Like your boyfriend, my family takes our sauce pretty seriously! I have made my own but it’s usually my dads job, his is the best. We have a tradition every summer where we buy crates of fresh tomatoes and jar them for sauce. Its a really fun day. We’ve been eating chickpea pasta lately, a brand called Banza. Have you ever tried chickpea pasta? I would definitely get excited to read a post from you comparing different types of “healthier” pasta! Its definitely not the same as the real thing but it packs a lot of protein.

    Reply to arielle
    • Taralynn McNitt

      I’ve never heard of chickpea pasta but now I’m intrigued!! Is it dry at all/bitter? Your family sounds like a blast!

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
      • arielle

        It isn’t really dry or bitter, the texture is just a bit off from regular pasta. I would say it’s grainy maybe? If you make a dish with lots of other textures like chicken or veggies you won’t notice it as much, but if its plain with a bowl of sauce you notice it more. It not bad though, just different!

        Reply to arielle
  • jessica

    I’ve never mad emy own homemade sauce, but my mom makes incredible sauce. Her pizza sauce is to die for too. Since I got married and moved out, I am missing her spaghetti sauce and pizza sauce so much! I need to set aside a day and make it in bulk so I have it on hand! I’m not sure if I could pick one favorite Italian dish, but my mom’s homemade pizza and fettuccine Alfredo are definitely two of my favorites!

    Reply to jessica
  • Monica

    wow. really craving my grandmas spaghetti now! but this looks so good, I’m glad everyone liked it!! 🙂

    Reply to Monica
  • Becky

    It’s so funny that you posted this today because I just had a conversation with my dad about making sauce for the first time this weekend! Recently my boyfriend and I have been going through a lot of canned tomato sauce so I decided to check out the nutrition facts and ingredients and yikes! The list of ingredients is scary!

    Like you mentioned, I find making my own sauce intimidating. I don’t actually like tomatoes, so I have no idea which ones to buy and how to know if they’re good. Thanks to your post I now know where to start and I’m officially motivated to try to make my own sauce! I’m going to start with canned tomatoes now, and this summer when fresh tomatoes are in season I want to try using fresh tomatoes. Thanks for the inspiration!

    Reply to Becky
  • Amanda

    I only use homemade sauce- the parmesan is definitely key!

    Reply to Amanda
  • Jessie

    I have also been using Tuttorosso for years and hunts is plain disgusting! Your sauce looks amazing.

    Reply to Jessie

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