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My son-in-law, Breno Daibes, made this recipe. As I loved it, I decided to share it with you.
French pinçage (pronounced pin-sahge) is mirepoix (pronounced meer-pwah) with tomato paste added.
This delicious basic tomato sauce recipe is the basis for so many dishes—pizza, pasta, chicken, and fish.
There are differences in cooking methods and ingredients, but all of them are easy to cook. To start you off, check my article: All About Mirepoix, Soffritto, Refogado, and other aromatic bases. They begin recipes and lend them flavour. The list of aromatics is long and varies depending on the dish being cooked.
These recipe starters are an ancient and intuitive part of the cooking process. It may seem like a humble mix, but the flavour it can impart to a dish shouldn’t be underestimated! These unassuming but essential vegetables are literally the foundation, the ground floor, of all the other flavours, elements and ingredients piled atop them during cooking.
In a truly traditional mirepoix, the ratio of ingredients is determined by weight. Home cooks do not need to be so precise. If you do not have a kitchen scale, you can use measuring cups to approximate your ratios: for instance, 2 cups onion, one cup carrots, and one cup celery. However, do not get stuck on specifics. Obviously, there are different variants of “mirepoix,” and all of them have different ingredients and ratios. Use whatever amounts you like.
The vegetables and herbs are lightly fried in oil (or butter, or different fats) for a longer time period to make the flavorful base. It is cooked at low heat without browning or colouring the vegetable. The whole point of mirepoix is sweetening the ingredients rather than caramelizing them.
Mirepoix has a hearty and sweet flavour.
Pinçage is made by adding tomato puree, which results in dark reddish brown colour.
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Mirepoix aromatic base
- 2 tbsp Olive oil - and or butter
- 2 stalks Celery - chopped
- 1 Carrot - large
- 2 Onion - large - finely chopped
- 1 head Garlic - peeled and minced
For tomato sauce
- 2 Tomato - chopped
- 2 cans Peeled tomatoes - blend in a blender and strain to remove seeds – or tomato paste
- 2 Bay leaves
- 1 branch Thyme
- 1/2 cup Wine - optional - full-bodied red wine - cabernet sauvignon preferred
- Oregano - dried to taste
- Basil - a handful of fresh basil, finely chopped or 1 tsp dried basil
- Savory - optional to taste
- Dash Red pepper - optional - crushed
- Black pepper - optional to taste
- Salt - to taste
- Parmesan - Shaved
- Black olives
- Basil - fresh
Prepare your vegetables
- Trim the root ends and tips from the vegetables.
- Rinse and scrub the celery.
- Rinse and peel your carrots and onions.
- Then dry well with a clean cloth.
- Chop the carrot, onion, and celery. In general, the finer you chop the veggies, the quicker the aroma and flavours will be released.
Cook your vegetables
- Heat olive oil to medium in a large pan or Dutch oven.
- Add onions, carrots and celery to the pan. Reduce heat to low or medium-low heat and Sauteé for about 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, adjusting heat to keep them from browning until soft and translucent.
- Add minced garlic and continue to cook until fragrant.
Prepare the Marinara
- Blend peeled tomatoes in a blender and strain to remove seeds.
- Add tomato paste, chopped tomatoes and herbs (fresh and dried).
- Stir in wine, salt, and pepper to taste.
- Bring to simmer; once it starts bubbling, reduce the heat to low and cook, uncovered until thickened, about 15 minutes to give the flavours a chance to marry.
- If the sauce gets too thick for your liking, you can add more tomato sauce, red wine, or stock to thin it out.
- Remove the bay leaf and serve.
Optional, purée for a smooth sauce
- If you want, you can push the sauce through a food mill, or purée it in a blender or with an immersion blender, to give it a smooth consistency.
- Shaved Parmesan, whole black olives, and/or a sprig of fresh basil.
- Arrabbiata sauce – Add 1 tsp chopped red chilli peppers when adding the garlic and herbs.
- Bolognese sauce – Add 1 lb of ground beef, pork, sausage, or a beef/pork mixture (be sure to drain off some of the extra fat before adding the garlic and herbs).
- Add clams and other seafood when adding the tomatoes.
- For some added texture – Add chopped mushrooms and/or zucchini when adding the garlic and herbs.
- To make a more distinctly flavoured sauce – Add another 1 tbsp fresh chopped basil or oregano a few minutes before serving.
- Add 1/4 cup cream during the last hour of cooking.
- Stir in 2 tbsp grated parmesan during the last five minutes of cooking.
- Gently blend the sauce with an immersion blender near the end of cooking to make a chunk-free sauce. It goes great on pizza.
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