It used to be my rescue in the old times at the university, and , in time, became a staple item of comfort in many ’empty fridge’ class of emergencies. It works well with the meat balls, with cabbage rolls, with potato cakes (kotlety kartoflane), with vegetarian or meet filled paszteciki, with pasta.. Depending on how fancy you can afford to be, and how much time you have, it may be very quick, or takes hours to simmer and intensify. Generally, it is hard to fail, but needs care when you need to produce an object of gourmet experience.Naturally, the better the ingredient, more patiently processed, the results promise to be proportionally better..
Exact composition of ingredients is really a question of availability. The basic are
- smoked bacon or decent quality pancetta (only for carnivores version), chopped finely
- oil or olive (to step in for the bacon, in vegetarian edition)
- onions, chopped
- garlic. chopped
- tomato product (fresh, possibly but not necessarily peeled, chopped, or tinned crushed or whole tomatoes, or a squeeze of tomato paste from the tube)
- fresh and/or died herbs (bay leaf, pepper, basil, oregano, rosemary, .. whatever strikes your palette at the time)
- salt to taste
- real or cubed bullion – in cases when you need to dilute the thick sauce
- Process the fat: either on mid level heat fry the bacon, gently , to extract the grease and brown the meat , or warm up the oil
- Add onion and garlic, caramelize gently, stirring often until light brown
- Add tomato products (!), bay leaf, some herbs, cover leaving a small opening for steam to escape, let simmer for as long as you can afford. The simmering time will decide how intense the flavour will be.
- Check occasionally, perhaps add some bouillon or water; the net result is pretty thick, not necessarily smooth (chunks of stuff may linger), but full if intense taste tomatoey concoction.
- Check the spicing, add some fresh herb if you still have them
- When applicable, merge with meat balls or cabbage rolls and let simmer to warm all up. Otherwise
- Serve hot with the warm vehicle of choice (pasta? paszteciki? kotlety kartoflane? anything else?)