Monday, May 3, 2010

Tomato sauce

When I was about four, I went through one of my (many) picky eater phases. In this particular one, I didn't like pasta sauce and ate my spaghetti noodles plain. Anything with tomatoes was gross and was shunned.

I still don't like raw tomatoes, but I love pretty much anything with cooked tomatoes. Really glad I grew out of that phase.

I use canned tomato sauce all the time when cooking, but homemade tastes a lot better, so I thought I would try making my own.

Pretty much you just need to peel, de-seed, chop, simmer, and puree as much tomato as you would like, but have some pictures of the process anyway!

So to peel tomatoes, cut an "x" on the end, then boil them for about 30 seconds, and then plunge them into ice water. They'll peel easily after that.

Pretend I am using two hands to do this. Also, pretend that this is ice-water. I used about 1.5 pounds, or 5 roma tomatoes.

The next part was too dang hard to photograph. Just cut the peeled tomatoes in half and cut out the middle septum (do you call it a septum in tomatoes?) and pull out the seeds.

Cutting tomatoes over the sink reminds me of my least-favorite part of food prep at my old sandwich-related fast food job. We had to slice tomatoes on this mandoline-like thing that was never sharp enough and sometimes a tomato would explode and get juice and seeds all over my face and clothes and tomato juice kind-of stings.

Does this look like ventricles to anyone else? Ahaha, biologists are weird.

Roughly chop them, and add about a half cup of water. You don't want a lot because the tomatoes have a lot of juice in them.

Bring to a boil then cover and simmer over medium for 10 minutes. Then remove the lid and reduce until enough liquid has boiled off. For me this was about 20 minutes. At some point during this part, squish the fruit with a potato-masher.

This is what it looked like after the 20 minutes of simmering.

So at this point you have tomato sauce that is ready to be used in a recipe that calls for the canned stuff. Or put on pasta if you are a purist. There is enough here for 2 servings.

I like lots of other stuff in my pasta sauce, so I minced half of a red bell pepper, about a third of a yellow onion, a tablespoon of butter (sounds weird but it is good) a splash of vegetable stock, and pepper, oregano, and basil. I let it simmer another 10 minutes, then served with spaghetti noodles and Parmesan.

I have hopes to start a container garden with several kinds of tomato, and then make and can sauce. We will see if that actually happens this summer!

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