Homemade Pasta Sauce!


When nature hands you a ton of tomatoes, make sauce to freeze or can for the winter.  The mess you make here will be amply rewarded with summer flavor in February.

Here are two methods , one that requires peeling for a smoother, more traditional sauce, the second faster and a little bit coarser, but the same terrific flavor.

Prep time:  70 minutes
Cook time:  3 hours
Yield:  6-8 cups of sauce

INGREDIENTS
10-15 ripe tomatoes
3-4 TB olive oil
1 onion, cut into 1/4 inch chunks
2 green peppers, cut into 1/4 inch chunks
2 carrots, cut into 1/4 inch chunks
1 bunch parsley, minced
1 hot pepper, minced (your favorite)
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1/4 cup fresh sage, chopped
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
1/2 tsp. dried oregano (or fresh)
1 TB fresh rosemary, minced
1/2 cup dry red wine
1 bay leaf1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. black pepper

DIRECTIONS (Traditional method)
Fill a large stock pot halfway with water and bring to a boil.  Set a large bowl filled 2/3 with ice water nearby, and another bowl for the cleaned tomatoes.  Place whole tomatoes in boiling water for a minute, lift out and place in the cold water bath for another minute (or more).  Remove the skin, and squeeze out the seeds as best you can.  Place these cleaned tomatoes in the empty bowl.

Dry out your stock pot (or use another).  Heat the olive oil in the bottom over medium-low heat and cook the onion, peppers, carrots, parsley, minced hot pepper, garlic, sage, basil, oregano, and rosemary for 5 minutes, stirring.  Remove from heat.

Use a food processor or blender to process the tomatoes and the vegetables.  Start by adding about 1 1/2 cups of the tomatoes, and puree them to create a liquid.  Then add the vegetables and process again to a consistency you like.  At the risk of overgeneralizing, adults seem to like their sauce with lots of texture, kids tend to like it smooth.  Return this puree to the stock pot.  Process the rest of the tomatoes, and add to the stock pot.  Add the wine, bay leaf, salt and pepper, stir, and turn the heat to medium high.  Heat to bubbling, reduce heat to low, and cook for 2-3 hours uncovered, stirring occasionally.  The sauce will reduce and thicken.  This is a good thing.

Serve fresh over pasta, or freeze/can for later.

DIRECTIONS (Easier method resulting in a more rustic sauce)
Heat the olive oil in the bottom over medium-low heat and cook the onion, peppers, carrots, parsley, minced hot pepper, garlic, sage, basil, oregano, and rosemary for 5 minutes, stirring.  While these vegetables are cooking, cut up your tomatoes into 1″ chunks, peels, seeds and all.  Add the tomatoes to the rest of the vegetables, stir, and bring back to a gentle simmer.  Cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 hours or until reduced by about half.  Remove from heat, and allow mixture to cool for an hour or more.  Add the wine, salt, and pepper (omit the bay leaf).

Use a food processor to process the vegetables, working in batches to not overwhelm your machine.  Process for a minute to achieve a good, relatively smooth consistency. 

Serve fresh over pasta, or freeze/can for later.

Note:  All types of tomatoes can be used to make sauce.  Paste-type tomatoes have lower water content and yield a thicker sauce.

Photo and Recipe by Tod Dimmick

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