Thursday, August 28, 2014

Week 22: Tomato Sauce Visual Tutorial

This summer has brought a bounty of tomatoes from my garden. In addition to the 3 plants I purchased in April, Butcher Son was given an additional 6 plants from customers and friends. This has yielded an unprecedented (for me) amount of Roma, San Marzano, and several varieties of heirloom tomatoes. We have had our share of bruschetta and caprese salad, I’ve made two batches of sundried tomatoes, and now find myself making tomato sauce every weekend. So I thought I would document the process in pictures, making it easy for you to follow along. Because it really is a simple process. And you don’t even have to drag out the canner. You can just pour the final product into jars or Tupperware and throw them in the freezer for use in the fall or winter when you want a taste of summer!

Step 1: Cut up your tomatoes: I cut my pear-shaped tomatoes in half and large tomatoes into quarters, removing the stem end. I usually fill one large bowl.

Step 2: Cut up your vegetables. Dice one onion and mince 6 cloves of garlic. Heat some olive oil in a large stewpot over medium high heat and sauté for a few minutes until translucent, stirring occasionally.

Step 3: Mince some fresh herbs. I use basil, rosemary and oregano from the garden. Add these and the tomatoes to your stewpot.

Step 4: Add red wine. I add about a cup of red wine to my tomatoes, but feel free to add more or less, depending on your taste and the amount of wine on hand.

Step 5: Add salt. Start with one tablespoon; you can always add more later.

Step 6: Cook your sauce. Put a lid on your stewpot and cook on medium low, stirring occasionally. I usually cook my tomatoes for about an hour.

Step 7. Pick out the skins. Every time I stir the pot, I use tongs to pull out the tomato skins that have separated from the tomato. I find this easier than skinning the tomatoes beforehand. You don’t have to get them all, just the majority.

Step 8: Puree. When the tomatoes have cooked down sufficiently, I use a stick blender to puree the sauce. If you don’t have a stick blender, I highly recommend you buy one, but in lieu of that, you can put batches in a blender and puree. Just don’t fill the blender more than half way or it will blow the lid off and burn you. (Trust me on this.)

Step 9. Cook down your sauce. Oftentimes my sauce is a bit soupy after pureeing. This is due to the type of tomatoes I use at any given time. If your sauce is too runny, just cook on medium with the lid off until the desired consistency is reached.

Voila! You are done. Let the sauce cool and pour into jars or plastic containers and throw in the freezer.

I use this sauce for pasta, adding browned ground meat or Italian sausage, or serve it with meatballs. It’s also great for lasagne, stuffed shells, or just as it is served with a bowl of plain pasta and grated Parmesan.

No comments: