It’s now October, the time of year when the summer fruits are being replaced with pumpkins, pomegranates, Brussels sprouts and sweet potatoes. Halloween decorations are everywhere, and this reminds us that Christmas is looming in the rear view mirror like an obnoxious tailgater. However, I do love it when Candy corn hits the shelves. Oh, and what about those bite-sized candy bars?
But I digress. This is about tomato sauce. Focus. As the summer season comes to an end, finding fresh tomatoes is challenging, which is all the more reason to buy them up and make a fresh sauce to get you through the winter months. This sauce can be frozen or canned for later use.
Your Go-to Tomato Sauce recipe?
There are literally hundreds of tomato sauce recipes out there. What sets this one apart from the others? This is a well-tested recipe for using fresh tomatoes. It is full of flavor, has some added vegetables, and is fast and easy. Hey, this might just become your go-to tomato sauce recipe.
Some hints and perks:
The tomatoes: The oval-shaped tomatoes are the best for sauce. Sometimes referred to as Roma, “paste” or “plum” tomatoes, these narrow, oval varieties are more dense and meaty, thus perfect for sauce.
- The sauce has a battuto base. Using sautéed aromatics like carrots, celery, onion, and garlic, creates a savory, elegant base for just about any sauce or soup.
- The tomatoes are cooked twice, thus concentrating flavor. First, you cook down the peeled tomatoes before adding other ingredients. This preliminary step begins to concentrate the tomato flavors by cooking off a bit of the moisture.
- 1/2 cup of olive oil is used. The garlic, the aromatics, and tomato flavors infuse the oil and help capture the flavors. Also, because the oil coats pasta, it carries the flavor to the rest of the dish. There is no such thing as too much olive oil!
- Total cooking time is 30 minutes, so the sweet flavor of the tomato is retained.
If you are lucky enough to have access to the end-of-the-harvest tomatoes, this is a great sauce to freeze or preserve for winter when you are longing for the taste of the sun.
These San Marzano tomatoes came from a dear friend who grew them in her backyard. They are completely organic and grown with love. They are full of blemishes and funny spots, just as organic is supposed to be. They taste like a dream.
This sauce recipe is perfect for fresh tomatoes, but you can used canned tomatoes in a pinch. This recipe is adapted from Marguerite Di Mino Buonopane’s The North End Italian Cookbook.
Tomato Sauce with Fresh Garden Tomatoes
Quick and Easy.
- 12 fresh plum, Roma, or San Marzano tomatoes, blanched and peeled
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1 carrot, diced
- 1 stalk celery, diced
- 1 medium onion, diced
- a few basil leaves
- 1 garlic clove, chopped Salt and pepper to taste
- To blanch and peel tomatoes: Using a paring knife, cut a small X on the end of each tomato, just cutting through the skin. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add whole tomatoes to the boiling water and after 1 minute, remove tomatoes and put them in an ice bath for another minute. Remove tomatoes and starting at the little X, peel the skin, scoop out the core with a paring knife and discard.
- Put tomatoes in a large pot and cook uncovered for about 10 minutes until they begin to soften. Do not add any water.
- Using a hand blender or blender, puree the cooked tomatoes.
- Meanwhile, in a skillet, heat olive oil and add the carrot, celery, onion and garlic. Cook for 10 minutes or until soft and aromatic.
- Add the tomato puree and herbs to the vegetable mixture and cook uncovered for another 20 minutes. Refrain from stirring more than once or twice, as you want to retain all the flavors.
- Salt to taste. Remember that you are using this sauce on pasta that may be unsalted, so you can be generous when adding salt to your sauce.
- Now for the good part – using your tomato sauce with pasta: Heat the sauce in a large skillet and let simmer very gently. Meanwhile, cook the pasta noodles until al dente. Using a spider or large slotted spoon, lift the pasta out of the cooking water, let drain for a few seconds and put the pasta directly in the heated tomato sauce. Stir and simmer the pasta in the tomato sauce for a few minutes. This way, the pasta noodles will soak up the sauce and absorb the flavors. As the pasta and tomato sauce simmer together, watch the process carefully and you will notice the marriage between the two.
Serve with grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese.