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Thursday, October 23, 2014

Cinnamon Spiked Tomato Sauce

Now that tomato season is over (sigh) and my basil plant is dead (squirrels love basil, apparently), I turn to canned tomatoes and spices to make tomato sauce.

I know you might be thinking "who is this lady and why is she going to tell me to make tomato sauce when I can just buy it?" but stay with me for a second: making your own tomato sauce from canned tomatoes is crazy easy, and more often than not is better for you and tastes infinitely better than store-bought. You only need one 28-ounce can of tomatoes, salt, olive oil or butter, some spices, a saucepan, and 30ish minutes. Oh, and a spoon.

Still with me?

The basic tomato sauce method comes from Marcella Hazan, whose tomato sauce with onion and butter will probably be circulated around the internet every year for the rest of eternity. (Go ahead and Google it - I'll wait - and you'll see what I mean).

Back? Ok. Since we're a little obsessed with cinnamon this month at Bazaar Spices, I decided to add Korintje cinnamon to my tomato sauce, an idea that was originally inspired by Joan Nathan via Aglaia Kremezi. I made Aglaia's sauce last year with Joan, but had since forgotten about its wonderfully warming and just slightly exotic flavor, until I was faced with a moment of desperation at my lack of basil. Why not take my Italian tomato sauce around the Mediterranean and add cinnamon, and then go a little further to Turkey and sprinkle some Urfa pepper on top?

Why not indeed.

Cinnamon Spiked Tomato Sauce

One 28-ounce can whole tomatoes
1 onion, peeled and quartered
3 tablespoons butter or olive oil, or to taste
1 to 2 teaspoons ground Korintje cinnamon (or you could use Ceylon)
Salt and pepper, to taste
Urfa pepper, to taste

Put the tomatoes and their juices in a medium sauce pan, crushing them slightly with your hands as you go. Warm the tomatoes over medium-high heat, then once the tomatoes start to bubble lower the heat so they are just simmering gently.

Add the rest of the ingredients, starting with 1 teaspoon of cinnamon and adding more later if you'd like a stronger cinnamon flavor. Keep simmering gently, uncovered and stirring occasionally, for 30 to 40 minutes, until the sauce is thickened. Remove the onion and save for another use if you like, or puree the whole sauce, onion and all. Taste and adjust seasonings.

Serve with cooked pasta of choice, sprinkled with Urfa pepper, if desired. (Read more about Urfa pepper here).

Yield: enough sauce for 1 pound (or so) of pasta

This post is part of our series on cinnamon. For others in the series check out:
A Short Summary of Cinnamon
What’s the Difference? Ceylon, Korintje, and Saigon Cinnamon
Orange Pomander Balls with Ceylon Cinnamon and Cloves
Cinnamon Spiked Tomato Sauce
Raw Vegan Cinnamon Rolls


Kara Elder grew up playing in the kitchen cupboards and reading cookbooks for fun while watching her mom cook tasty Mexican meals. After graduating with a degree in Russian, she found herself increasingly interested in reading food blogs and planning menus. Kara, her mom, and her sister started a food blog of their own, The Troika Table. Kara is a Bazaar Spices Team Member and also works for Joan Nathan, a DC-based cookbook author and food writer. 

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