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Aurora sauce is typically a combination of bechamel, cream and tomato puree. In this lightened-up version, rich chicken stock replaces the milk for a deep, complex flavor.
Are you ready for a French cooking lesson?
In the culinary arts, the term “mother sauce” refers to any of one the five basic sauces, which are basically the starting points for making any other type of sauce. Each one is the head of its own family of unique sauces.
A basic sauce is essentially a liquid plus some sort of thickening agent along with flavorings and seasonings. Each mother sauce is made with a different liquid, and a different thickening agent. Three of the five are thickened with roux (butter and flour aka the best thickening agent IMHO).
The mother sauces include bechamel (milk, flour, butter), veloute (stock, flour, butter), espagnole (beef stock, roux, tomato puree), hollandaise (liquid and thickening agent, with clarified butter/egg yolk), and the classic tomate (rendered pork, veggies, stock, simmered).
I received free samples of Progresso Cooking Stock mentioned in this post at no cost. By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by Progresso Cooking with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.
Today’s recipe uses veloute as the base mother sauce. The veloute itself isn’t a finished sauce– you could season it with salt and pepper and use it as a basic gravy. The sauce used in today’s recipe is a veloute base with chicken stock, flour, butter and olive oil, thickened with a little cream to create a supreme sauce. Adding the tomato puree creates an aurora sauce.
Okay, now you probably know more than you wanted about the five mother sauces of French cuisine! I’ve been a little obsessed with teaching myself more culinary terms and cooking techniques.
Chicken stock is the main ingredient in today’s tomato cream sauce. Stock is typically made with bones and can contain small amounts of meat. Often the bones are roasted before simmered to improve the flavor. With the new line of cooking stocks from Progresso, we can all enjoy the convenience of premade stock! The stocks are made by simmering real bones, flavorful vegetables and aromatic herbs to give it a flavor that’s close to homemade – a great addition to soups, stews, gravies and sauces.
Due to the process Progresso’s chefs use to simmer the real bones, Progresso Cooking Stocks have rich, meaty flavor and are full of body, making them ideal for adding deep, complex flavor to many dishes including soups, stews, sauces and gravies. Made without artificial flavors, they also only range from 95-420mg of sodium per serving.
Progresso challenged us Recipe Redux members to recreate our favorite comfort food using Progresso Cooking Stocks.
One of my favorite comfort foods is any type of pasta. We grew up eating some type of pasta dish at least once or twice a week– spaghetti, tuna helper, mac n cheese, lasagna and gnocchi. Huge pasta/cheese/tomato sauce people here. As an adult, I’m always looking for ways to lighten my favorite pasta dishes up here and there.
Making a creamy tomato sauce with a rich chicken stock helps reduce the amount of cream that’s needed, while imparting a deep, rich flavor from the heavily flavored stock. Using stock instead of milk or cream actually creates a whole new level of flavor in a dish, while reducing the heaviness!
Here’s the recipe for Gnocchi & Veggies with Creamy Tomato Sauce:
Gnocchi & Veggies with Creamy Tomato Sauce
- 1 zucchini, diced
- 1 large carrot, diced
- 1 pkg gnocchi
- 2 Tbsp butter
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 4 Tbsp all purpose flour
- 2 cups Progresso Cooking Stock (chicken)
- freshly cracked salt and pepper
- 1 tsp minced garlic
- 1/4 cup half and half
- 3/4 cup tomato sauce
- Parmesan cheese, for serving
Fill a pot with water and bring to a boil-- add the zucchini and carrots, cook for 2 minutes. Add the gnocchi and boil according to package directions (usually 2-3 more minutes). Drain and set aside.
In a large saucepan, melt the butter and olive oil together over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and let the mixture cook for about 2 minutes. Whisk the stock in slowly, making sure no lumps form. Bring the liquid to a gentle simmer. Reduce the heat and let simmer for 20 minutes, whisking occasionally.
Season with salt and pepper, then whisk in the garlic, half and half and tomato sauce.
Stir in the gnocchi, carrots and zucchini.
Top with a sprinkle of parmesan cheese.
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