You Say Tomato… and Lycopene and Breast Cancer Prevention

I’m always on the lookout for ways to eat the things I love in a healthy way. This month, our good friend Nina Pucillo from one of my favorite blogs, Nina Cucina, has once again sent us a great healthy recipe. Not only that, but she has kindly included a fantastic little video so we can learn how to make our own tomato sauce. I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t preface all of this by saying when I grow up I want to look as good in the kitchen as she does! I’m not even sure if it matters whether I know how to cook – I just want to look good.

Okay, on to more serious matters. Tomatoes are great because they are a source of Lycopene. Lycopene is a pigment called a carotenoid. It is found in tomatoes, red carrots, watermelon, papaya, pink grapefruit, guava and certain other red colored fruits and vegetables, and is thought to be a potent cancer-fighting nutrient that should be included as part of a balanced diet.

What Lycopene does in your body
Lycopene has strong antioxidant properties that help to remove free radicals from your body. Since free radicals are known to harm cells and DNA, that’s a good thing. These free radicals speed up the aging process and are also thought to contribute to causing cancer as well as other diseases. While they are a byproduct of natural metabolic functions, they also result from smoking, alcohol, excessive sun exposure and exposure to pollution.

Some studies suggest that Lycopene may be able to provide internal protection from damaging sun radiation and thus helps to prevent sunburn and skin cancer. It is also thought to help prevent heart disease.

And now for this month’s recipe… let’s get sauced (tomato sauced, that is)! Watch Nina create it right here:

Basic Tomato Sauce
Makes (5 1/2 Cups) 11 Half-Cup Servings

What You’ll Need:
A Large Pot with a Lid
2 Large Mixing Bowls
A Small Bowl
A Food Processor
Glass Storage Containers
Parchment Paper
A Pen
Scotch Tape

About 5 pounds tomatoes
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
2 Medium Onions, Chopped
1 Cup Minced Carrots
1/2 Cup White Wine
1/2 Cup Cream Sherry
1 Tbsp Minced Garlic
1/2 Tsp Sea Salt
20 Grinds of Black Pepper

How To Put It Together:

1) Remove stems with the point of your knife and slice the tomatoes in half and then chop them into large chunks, transferring the chunks to a large bowl as you go. A little at a time, puree the tomatoes in the food processor and transfer to an empty bowl. Place the grated carrots in the food processor and process until they are finely minced. Transfer the carrots to a small bowl.

basic tomato sauce

...Can't you just taste it?

2) Bring all of your ingredients from your work surface to the stove. Preheat your pot at about medium-high heat. You will know that the pan is ready when you place your hand about one inch from the pan surface and you feel heat radiating from the pan surface. Now add the oil. You will see the viscosity of the oil change rather quickly. Now add the chopped onion and sauté until just opaque, then add the minced carrots and continue to sauté. Now pour in the tomato puree and stir the mixture. Now stir in the minced garlic. Add the sea salt, white wine, cream sherry and about 20 grinds of black pepper and stir the sauce well. Cover the pot and bring it to a boil, reduce the heat to medium, then uncover it and allow the sauce to simmer for about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Remove the pot from the stove and save any sauce that you may be using immediately. To store the sauce: start by placing a piece of parchment paper on your work surface and place a storage container on top. Draw a circle around the storage container and cut a circle out of the parchment paper. Repeat the process for your other containers. The parchment rounds will help protect the sauce from freezer burn. Scoop sauce into each container, place a round of parchment right on top and seal the container with its top making sure to get all the air out of it. Now cut a small piece of scotch tape and place it on the container top, Write the date on the scotch tape as well as the sauce name. This will ensure that foods are not left in the freezer too long. Place the containers in the freezer.

Chef’s Tip:
Tomato sauce will keep in the freezer at least nine months.

This is the sauce Nina uses for her Eggplant Capannina dish. What delicious meal will you cook up with a serving of Nina’s tomato sauce?

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3 Responses to You Say Tomato… and Lycopene and Breast Cancer Prevention

  1. Lee says:

    Fresh tomato sauce over whole wheat pasta with some shredded parmesan is a current favorite of mine… yum! Thanks to Nina for sharing this!

  2. Shan Willoughby says:

    Hey Dianne – Maybe Nina is willing to share her Eggplant Capannina recipe? That sounds delish! Love eggplant!

  3. Dianne Armitage says:

    Or, maybe I can find it and then charge you one million dollars to get it from me … oops … did I think that outloud?

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