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Homemade Tomato Sauce

November 6, 2011

Feeling domestic and hankering for a hearty meal, I decided to tackle something I haven’t ever attempted but have been meaning to master, Tomato/Pasta/Spaghetti Sauce from scratch. I checked out a couple different recipes from which has a giant like encyclopedia of tomato sauce information and Smitten Kitchen. I tried asking Siri “How to make homemade tomato sauce?” Her answer: “I found 12 restaurants nearby who’s reviews mention tomato and sauce.” Clearly someone does not have faith in my cooking abilities, that saucy minx.

Compiling the best of the recipes I found, and shocked to see carrot and celery as popular items in homemade sauce, Grill Boy and I ventured out on our weekly shopping excursion to purchase the ingredients. Including 4 pounds of tomatoes, aka a lot of freaking tomatoes.

The combination of recipes I settled on:

Homemade Tomato Sauce

4 lbs fresh tomatoes (I used plum, although I might seek out a redder tomato in the future as the sauce is quite orange)
1 small sweet onion
1/2 celery stalk
1/2 large carrot (perhaps I should have gone with a smaller carrot)
Fresh Basil
Fresh Garlic (3-5 cloves)
Salt and Pepper to taste
1/2 tablespoon-ish Oregano
1/2 tablespoon-ish Thyme
a few shakes of Marjoram (cause its just fun to say)

Boiling and Blanching

Boil a large pot water, get your tomatoes ready, with a slotted spoon. Also prepare an ice bath in a large bowl. Plop a few tomatoes into the boiling water, and boil (blanch) for about a minute, or until you see the skin tear. Drop into ice bath (Note: ice bath made infinitly better if you have a shark fin ice mold floating in it to scare the tomatoes).

Next up you will take the tomatoes from the ice bath and peel the skin off, I switched back and forth between peeling and kind of squeezing and having the tomato shoot out.

Finish up blanching the large pile of tomatoes and then slice them in half. Now comes the fun part, squeezing and removing all the seeds and seed guts from the tomatoes. Do this over a strainer so you can reserve any liquid that comes off the tomatoes. You also might want to break the tomatoes up a bit while you have the tomatoes in your hot little hands.

Veggies and Flavor

While you do the tomatoes, solicit help from a partner in crime, to finely dice/mince, the onion, carrot and celery. Toss in a large stock pot with about 1/4 cup of olive oil and cook for 10 minutes. At this time also add in the fresh garlic (I use a garlic press, but mincing works just fine as well), the thyme, oregano, marjoram, salt and pepper to taste and any other spices you are feeling like.

Simmering Sauce

And now comes the waiting game. Add the tomatoes, some fresh basil to the veggie mixture, bring to a simmer and cook for at least 45 minutes. The longer you cook it, the thicker it will get.

Now as I mentioned in the ingredients list, the sauce was looking pretty orange, so I ended up adding a 15 ounce can of diced tomatoes after about an hour of cooking, as well as about 1/4 cup of parmesan cheese. I thought about adding some red wine too, but didn’t want to open a bottle. The sauce looked very much like a Vodka sauce after about an hour, but again I think due to the carrots, I might cut those out in the future.

I didn’t chop up the tomatoes before tossing them in the sauce, so I wanted to puree it a bit. I threw about 1/2 the sauce in a blender and pureed, just to give a little more smoothness to the consistency.

After about an hour and a half:

After two and a half hours:

Tossed with some chicken sausage and served on four cheese ravioli:


Grill Boy: Was slow to cook down, but not surprising. Sauce went really well with Parmesan cheese. Orange color was a little bit weird, but overall not terrible, just needs some tweaks.

Baker Girl: Thinking this might be a good vodka sauce from scratch recipe (yes I did contemplate throwing some vodka in). I think next time I will skip the blanching step, and just go with whole canned tomatoes, they have more vibrant red color and are canned at their peak versus having been on a truck and in a store before we bought them by the pound. I agree will Grill Boy, a good start, just needs some tweaks. Next challenge homemade pasta, I’ve done it before but not in like 10 years.

One Comment leave one →
  1. November 7, 2011 12:39 am

    I like scaring the tomato with Shark Ice. There is a device that separates the tomato from the skin and seeds, looks like a combo between a strainer and a grinder. All moms in my day always had one. That would solve the seed skin removal. As for the orange color, you could alway export to Holland!

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