I've never made tomato sauce before, but I have been meaning to for some time. We eat a lot of pasta and pizza in my house, and making the sauce to go with them would be a natural progression.
I thought I might experiment with making the sauce in the bread machine, which I have used to make fruit jams before. How different can a tomato sauce be? After all, isn't jam just fruit sauce with sugar?
Step 1: Ingredients
I loosely followed this recipe, but used my lazy shortcuts that will undoubtedly affect how the sauce turns out.
600 grams of tomatoes, both canned and fresh
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp sugar
Dash of red-wine vinegar
The canned tomatoes had small green chiles in it, but I figured that a little bit of spice wouldn't be bad. I used the rest of the tomatoes that I had left over from the Carbonating Tomatoes instructable. (And I did not use the carbonated tomatoes in this one!)
I used the onion and garlic powder because my eventual goal would be to make this "slow cooker" style- dump everything in the machine in the morning, and come back later to completed sauce. Frying and softening onions and garlic would be an extra step.
Step 2: Sliced Tomatoes
I merely sliced the plum tomatoes. I did not seed or skin them. Many recipes call for both, but others say to leave them on for a chunky texture and a more intense flavor.
Using only canned tomatoes will probably make this step an unnecessary worry. I think leaving the skins on is also (partly) why the sauce is bright orange instead of red.
Into the pot with them!
Step 3: Everything Else
I added the rest of the ingredients directly in, and set the "Jam" cycle on my bread machine.
The downside of using a non-programmable bread machine is that you have no control over the stirring cycle or the temperature. This machine uses a fairly vigorous stroke to stir the sauce, because it expects to be fighting a sugar thickened jam mixture. The tomato sauce is much thinner, especially at the beginning, and the blades have a tendency to throw stuff high against the walls.
I recommend only making small batches and not overfilling the pan, as it could make a mess on the inside of the machine and burn on the heating element.
This machine's jam cycle will run for about an hour. That should be about right.
Step 4: Checking in Halfway
Midway through, I took a spatula and scraped the sides of the pan to incorporate the splashes back into the mixture. This was probably unneeded, but it made sure that nothing burned to the sides of the pan.
You can see that the tomatoes have cooked down into sauce.
Step 5: Finished?
Here is the sauce after the cycle finished and the pan cooled. (It can be pretty hot, so wait before trying to pull it out of the bread machine.)
The sauce is very chunky, and has visible seeds floating in it. That might be unappealing to some people, so I decided to blend it a bit.
Step 6: Blending
A stick blender very easily accomplishes the blending, using only a few pulses to make a smoother sauce with no visible seeds any more.
I think this is also part of the reason why my sauce is a bright orange inside of a deep red. The vigorous stirring of the bread machine and the blending have incorporated a lot of air, which has reacted with the tomatoes to change their color. The hour-long cooking cycle may have done that too.
Step 7: Tomato Sauce
The finished sauce has a relatively watery texture, and a bright flavor. I didn't add any other seasonings to it so my wife (who is chief taster) could add spices to make it into a pasta or a pizza sauce.
For a thicker sauce, I may heat the sauce again to reduce it some more. Running it through the bread machine jam cycle twice (probably easily accomplished with a programmable machine) would likely give it more of a "paste" consistency.
If you wanted to use the "delay" cycle of the bread machine to prepare the sauce while you are away, it would probably be wise to use a recipe that incorporates lemon juice, to increase the acidity of the mixture for better food safety.