Visual Recipe: Tomato Sauce
Tomatoes are at their best right now and one of the ways I enjoy them most is in making tomato sauce. It’s a good way to enjoy the flavour and a great way to drive lots of tomatoes into your face.
When you buy your tomatoes, DON’T put them in the refrigerator. Leave them out on the counter so they continue to ripen and develop more flavour. They’re also real pretty.
For my tomato sauce, the process is pretty simple and the only special gear you’ll need is a food mill. A food mill with a fine grate will separate the skins and seeds from the pulp, making for a super smooth tomato sauce. It’s old school gear and still very useful, as I’ve mentioned on this site before.
The only extra tip I have for making tomato sauce from fresh tomatoes is that using a bit of canned tomato paste will really help to make the sauce smooth and thick, without having to reduce your sauce so much that it kills some of that fresh flavour. Season well and delicately flavour the sauce with your Italian herbs of choice and enjoy.
My Tomato Sauce
Heat a large stainless steel pot over medium heat for a few minutes and add two tablespoons of good olive oil. Coarsely chop two garlic cloves and half a small onion and add that to the hot oil. After a minute or two, begin coring and chopping tomatoes and add them to the pot. I added around 8 large tomatoes in this batch. Add a bit of salt and pepper and put a lid on the pot. When it comes to the boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for 15-20 minutes.
Run the sauce through your food mill into a bowl then return to the pot. Add a tablespoon of tomato paste and bring back to a simmer over medium heat. Cook for perhaps another 15 minutes, uncovered, to reduce to a saucy consistency. Season with herbs of your choice (fresh chopped basil is a good start, maybe some oregano).
One nice, classic way to use the sauce is with pasta of course. Boil some spaghetti in salted water until al dente, drain and return to the pot. Ladle in some tomato sauce (not too much, just enough to coat!) and let it simmer and soak up the sauce. Serve with more fresh herb and grated Romano or parmesan cheese.