Introduction: Summer's Reward- Tomato Sauce
I freeze bruised and over-ripe tomatoes all summer long. By October, by freezer is full of tomatoes exclusively (except for a spot just big enough to fit a pint or two of ice cream). Get to know your local grocer- some markets may sell such tomatoes at a discount. Here is a simple spaghetti sauce that is a favorite at my house.
You will need: A large pot, two ordinary produce bags of frozen tomatoes, tomato paste, olive oil, fresh basil and oregano, two yellow onions, bay leaves, a head of garlic, salt, and sugar (pepper in picture for on top later if you wish).
Fill the large pot with water and bring to a boil (for blanching the tomatoes). While you are waiting for the water, chop the onions and garlic and put them in a food processor. Please take the extra time to remove and green sprouts from the garlic...they will add a bitterness to your sauce if you do not do so.
Next, put the basil and oregano in with some olive oil and blend. I don't like it too chunky, but I also don't want it to be like a paste.
Once the water is boiling, set up a station for blanching the tomatoes and removing the skins.
Carefully drop a few tomatoes into the boiling water. They only need to be in there for about five or ten seconds before the skins split and can be removed. The skins should peel-off easily. You may want to add another plate to the process for the tomatoes as you remove them from the water. Please try not to burn yourself as much as I do.
After they thaw for a few minutes, cut up the tomatoes coarsely, and remove the stems. They will still be mostly frozen, so please do not use one of your nice knives for this job. That's a cheap serrated one from a hardware store.
Pour the water out of the big pot, and put it on the stove on medium/medium high with some olive oil in the bottom. Add the blend of herbs, garlic and onions. Saute the mixture for a few minutes. I think this step adds a nice depth to the flavor. After much of the water from the onions cooks out and it starts to brown slightly, gradually stir in the tomatoes. Do this until you have put about half of them in. It will still look pretty green at this point, but that will change. Blend the rest of the tomatoes in a food processor, and add them once the first half gets going. This step is optional. You can add all the tomatoes in coarsely chopped if you like it chunky. I like the blend, so I do both. It cooks a lot faster too when half of the tomatoes are pureed.
Turn the heat down, and add the tomato paste and bay leaf (I put in two). Also add a little sugar and the amount of salt you like. I usually wait to add much of the salt until its done, so I can taste it. Let it simmer on low for about an hour. Stir frequently. When the water stops pooling on the the top (second picture), its done.
When its done, I transfer the sauce to a medium sized pot, and clean out the big one immediately so I can start the water for the pasta. I eat a lot of it on buttered Italian bread while I wait for the water to boil. Enjoy!
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