Aurora sauce is a creamy tomato sauce for eggs, vegetables, fish, chicken, and pasta dishes. It's made by adding tomato purée to a basic béchamel sauce or velouté sauce or compound sauces such as suprême sauce, or Allemande (German) sauce.
The sauce also is known as aurore, the French word for "sunrise," which is the gorgeous pinkish-red color the sauce becomes after adding the tomato product to a classic French sauce of your choosing.
We have made this aurora with a béchamel, one of the five mother sauces, as its base so that it is suitable for vegetarians, but you also can try it with 1 quart of velouté, another mother sauce, or any of the other compound sauces mentioned for a change of pace.
- For the Béchamel Sauce:
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1/2 small white onion (cut into 1/2-inch dice)
- Kosher salt
- 3 heaping tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 quart milk
- Pinch grated nutmeg
- 1 bay leaf
- For the Aurora Sauce:
- 1 cup tomato purée
Note: while there are multiple steps to this recipe for aurora sauce, it is broken down into workable sections to help you better plan for preparation and cooking.
Make the Béchamel Sauce
Gather the ingredients.
Add the butter and onion to a large saucepan over medium heat. Season the onions with salt, to taste, and cook until they become translucent and very aromatic.
Add the flour and cook until the flour and butter resemble wet sand, about 3 to 4 minutes.
Gradually, whisk in the milk until incorporated. Add the nutmeg and bay leaf and season with salt, to taste. Slowly bring the milk-flour mixture to a boil, stirring frequently to prevent scorching on the bottom. Be sure that the milk comes to a boil so the raw flour taste will cook out.
Make the Aurora Sauce
Once the béchamel sauce has come to a boil and has thickened, remove it from the heat.
Stir in the tomato purée, simmer for another minute, Discard the bay leaf and serve.
Use right away or refrigerate, covered, until ready to use.
Note: If desired, you can add 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese once the tomato purée has been added and the sauce is off the heat. Simply stir in the cheese until it is melted. This is not traditionally part of an aurora sauce, but it is a very tasty addition.
Try This Pasta Dish With Aurora Sauce
For a delicious baked casserole using aurora sauce, heat the oven to 425 F. Butter a casserole dish. Cook 1 pound of rigatoni or rotini pasta until al dente. Drain and mix well with hot aurora sauce and 3/4 cup Parmesan cheese. Turn into the buttered dish. Top the casserole with 3/4 cup Parmesan cheese mixed with 3 tablespoons toasted breadcrumbs and dot with 2 tablespoons of sliced cold butter. Bake for 10 minutes and serve hot.