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Almost every Victorian chef, home cook or Italian grandmother has their own version of how to make the best tomato sauce in the world. Just open any recipe book and you are bound to come across a dish that requires some form of tomato sauce. Italian dishes are known to heavily use this reddish stew of tomatoey goodness, either in a bolognese sauce, marinara sauce, to make lasagna or simply to base a pizza. With a few tweaks, you can even make your own tomato ketchup.
There is something about the aroma permeating from a large pot of hot tomato sauce, made from fresh tomatoes, cooking on the stove that instantly causes a mouth to salivate. And to think, it is only a base of a dish.
But what turns many people off making their own tomato sauce is the long time it takes to make it. Big brand food producers have come to the rescue to bring ready to use tomato sauce in a can or bottle that people can simply open and use. Despite it being a quicker solution to cooking, sometimes we just don’t know what ingredients goes into making ready to serve store bought tomato sauce.
Instead of having to always buying tomato sauce, why not make your own? Although quite time consuming, it is really quite simple. And by making a large batch, you can save it in the freezer for when you need it again. Sterilise some old jam jars with hot water and pour in the tomato sauce for an edible gift for friends. Here is how you can make your own tomato sauce with fresh ingredients to match any Italian-style store bought tomato sauce.
10 ripe tomatoes
2 tablespoons of olive oil
2 tablespoons of unsalted butter
1 large onion (chopped)
4 garlic cloves (crushed and chopped finely)
1 large red bell pepper (chopped)
2 carrots (diced)
1 stalk of celery (chopped finely)
2 tablespoon of dry basil leaves
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning (oregano, basil and taragon)
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 bay leaf
1/4 cup of water
Salt and pepper to taste
A quick way to peel the skin of the tomatoes is to cut a small ‘X’ at the bottom of each tomato and drop into a pot of boiling water until the skin of the tomatoes begin to peel. Have a large bowl of iced water at the ready. Strain of the boiled tomatoes and plunge them into the ice water. When the tomatoes are cool enough to handle, the skins should be easy to remove. Squeeze out the seeds of each tomato and then finely chop them, then set aside.
In a large pot over medium heat, pour in olive oil and butter. When the butter has melted cook the onion, bell pepper, carrot and garlic for around 5 minutes or until onions become soft and aromatic. Pour in the chopped tomatoes then stir in basil, Italian seasoning, and water. Place bay leaf and chopped celery stalks into the pot while seasoning with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 2 hours. Finally, stir in tomato paste and simmer for an extra 2 hours. Remove bay leaf and your tomato sauce is ready to be used in any dish you want.
Creative Note: To transform the tomato sauce to tomato ketchup, puree the tomatoes then when simmering add in a few tablespoons of vinegar and Worcestershire sauce. A quick and simple condiment to enjoy. For a spicier alternative, replace the bell peppers with a red chili… Dnjoy