With a garden full of tomatoes, the most obvious thing to make is tomato sauce. I’ve been waiting until I gathered enough to make a decent amount. And that time is here. After days of collecting 2-3 pounds of ripened San Marzano, Hothouse, and Heirloom tomatoes, it’s time for some homemade tomato sauce!
Most recipes for fresh sauce that you come across require you to spend hours seeding, peeling, and simmering; but this isn’t one of those recipes. For this sauce I’m cutting the cooking time down to maintain the integrity and fresh flavor of the tomato. Since they’re going into sauce literally days after being harvested, they don’t need much.
I started but gathering the few ingredients I was going to need.
The first step is to get all the seeds and skin removed which is the most time consuming part. Start by putting on a pot of water to boil and getting a bowl of ice water ready and set off to the side. Next you’re going to score the bottom of the tomatoes, which means to draw a little “X” to make skin removal easier.
When the water is boiling, drop a few tomatoes in at a time for about 30-45 seconds. The goal here is to loosen the skin, NOT to cook the tomato at all. This is called blanching.
Now you want to shock the tomato by putting it in ice water to stop the cooking process.
After the tomatoes are shocked and blanched, peeling them from the scored part downward will be easy. Once the skin is off, slice the tomato in half to remove the seeds. The seeds will make your sauce bitter so make sure you get them all out!
Now repeat this process until all the tomatoes are seed and skin free.
Something I do to my sauce to give it natural sweetness, since tomatoes can be quite tart even at their freshest, I caramelize a carrot. Carrots are naturally sweet but when you sweat them over low heat, the sweetness intensifies which balanced the sharpness of the tomatoes. Caramelize the carrot for about 15-20 minutes or until the edges turn light brown. Then add in 5 cloves of crushed garlic. There’s no need to chop the garlic because everything will be puréed soon.
Lastly add in the tomato flesh along with a handful of whole basil leaves. Crank the heat up to medium high and let it bubble for about 5 minutes.
When it comes to blending your sauce, how much you blend it is up to you. If you like chunky, rustic sauce pulse it only a few times or not at all. If you like your sauce smooth, like I do, liquify it in a blender or food processor.
After the sauce is blended (or not blended), I put it back in the pan and let it simmer again for about 10 minutes, at this point, you can toss in some more fresh basil and it’s complete. Quick and simple.
The sauce freezes beautifully. Also, it can stay in the refrigerator for up to 7 days. Or you could use it immediately in anything you’d like, from bolognese to a basic plate of linguini like I did (topped with a fresh grates of Pecorino Romano cheese and fresh basil leaves.) 😊