Monday, October 6, 2014

homemade tomato sauce

Last weekend I went to the farm stand up the street and bought some rather large heirloom tomatoes.  At first I was going to make some sort of dish in an effort to make raw tomatoes appeal to me, but then I decided to make homemade tomato sauce.  It's something I've always wanted to try.

I started looking at recipes online and quickly realized there are many different ways to make tomato sauce.  Some say to blanch the tomatoes and then peel them.  Some say just chop up the tomatoes and throw them in the pot.  Some say to puree the cooked tomatoes, others don't.  I even found one that said to roast the tomatoes in the oven.  Aside from the different cooking methods, how do I know which one has the taste I'm looking for?  I decided that I would take the elements I like from different recipes and make it my own.  One recipe had the seasoning I was looking for, while another had the cooking method I wanted.

The sauce came out really good, although I might reduce the oregano next time.  It just seemed a bit much.  But it might be fine for someone else.

Here are the pics:
(recipe follows)

My ingredients (not the bananas!).  Three heirloom tomatoes weighed more than three pounds!

After the tomatoes have been blanched, peeled, and chopped.  Look at that color!  
These tomatoes are the Kellogg's Breakfast heirloom variety.  I know, weird name.

Tomatoes, onion, garlic, pepper, and cooked Italian sausage.

The cooked sauce.

Bob's dinner.

My dinner.  I didn't have the pasta.  I spooned the sauce over some ricotta cheese.  Yum!

Homemade Tomato Sauce

3 pounds tomatoes (whatever kind you like; I know nothing about tomato varieties)
1 pound cooked Italian sausage (or ground beef)
1/2 large onion, diced
1 green pepper, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 6 oz. cans tomato paste
3 TB dried oregano
1 1/2 TB dried basil
3 bay leaves
salt to taste

  1. Brown the sausage or ground beef, then drain the excess fat.  Hold aside.
  2. Blanch and peel the tomatoes:  Cut an X in the bottom of each tomato.  Put into boiling water for about 45 seconds.  Pull them out with a slotted spoon and immediately put them into a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking.  Peel the skins off.  Very easy!
  3. Chop the tomatoes, removing any of the tough white parts.  This can get messy so make sure you use a big cutting board.  Put chopped tomatoes in a large pot along with the cooked meat, diced onion, pepper, and garlic cloves and cook on medium heat for about 15 minutes.
  4. Add the tomato paste to the cooked tomatoes and stir to incorporate.
  5. Add the seasonings and stir.
  6. Turn burner to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 1 1/2 hours.  This is to incorporate all the flavors into the sauce.
  7. Adjust seasoning, if necessary.
  8. Pull out the bay leaves.
  9. Sauce is finished!

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