Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Tomato Sauce

In the past two years I've made a real effort to use all of my garden produce. I have to admit that in the past I did pick, display then throw away, as if growing a garden was just for show! I had good intentions, but I just didn't know what to do with it all. Seventy-five tomatoes can really overwhelm a girl. Especially when you're the only one in the house that eats them!

So now when I have a plethora of garden tomatoes, I put them to good use by canning them or making something I can use later like salsa.

One of those things I like to make with all my garden tomatoes is pasta sauce. I don't follow a recipe when it comes to my sauce, I just make it with what I have on hand and this week it was tomatoes and peppers and other things I harvested in the past two weeks.

Here's what I start with:

Tomatoes, Peppers, Carrots, Celery, Onions and Garlic.
The very first step to my special sauce is the tomatoes, which I blanch in hot boiling water. Blanching them makes removing the skin super easy.
I make a X -shaped slit on the bottom of each tomato. The tomatoes I used in this sauce were Plum Tomatoes.
Then I put them in the boiling water for 30 seconds to a minute. Basically until you see the skins start to peel up.

Take tomatoes out of the hot boiling water and submerge them into ice water for a few minutes.

Remove them when you begin to see the skins peel up.

Completely remove skins and cores.
Remove seeds. I use my finger to pull these babies out.
After removing the seed there was a lot of juice left over in the bowl. The juice was full of seeds so I strained it through cheese cloth.

Squeezing the juice through the cheese cloth.

I placed the Tomatoes and juice in a sauce pan and set on low heat as I prepared the other vegetables.
I heat up some olive oil in a frying pan for the onions, basil and garlic.

When the onions are transparent, I add to the pan my carrots and celery.

After a few minutes I add the green peppers.
I don't keep the peppers in the pan for long. Maybe two minutes or so. Then I transfer the contents of the frying pan to the sauce pan with the tomatoes.

Keep your burner on a low setting and allow to cook for several hours, stirring occasionally. 

The sauce is ready when it has reduced by about half. This batch cooked for about 4 hours.
I like to puree my sauce in a blender. This is not necessary, but in my house I have no choice! If I leave all of those chunks in there, there's going to be three kids and a husband picking the vegetables out. I do what have to do!!
I like to add a touch of honey to sweeten my sauce, but can use white sugar if you'd like or leave out the sweet all together.
Then just a sprinkle of salt.


Homemade sauce...

And this sauce is great with homemade pasta!!


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