Friday, August 19, 2011

Homemade pasta sauce

After weeks of anticipation, I finally had enough Roma tomatoes (plus a few others) ripe at the same time to make pasta sauce.  If you've never made your own sauce before, then I strongly encourage you to give it a try.  The sauce is sweeter and richer than anything from a jar.  I used only three ingredients with this's amazing how little can do so much!

Here's how you do it:

1. Pick and wash a bunch of tomatoes.  You'll need 30 or so Roma tomatoes to make enough sauce for one box of noodles.

2. Boil a large pot of water.

3. Prepare an ice bath in a large bowl.

4. Cut a small "X" in the bottom of each tomato.  No need to make the cut too deep--it just has to pierce the skin.

5. Carefully drop the tomatoes into the pot of boiling water. As they heat up, the skin will begin to pull away from the tomato where you made the X cut.

6. When you see the skins start to peel back, carefully take the tomatoes out of the boiling water and place them in the ice bath. This will cause the skins to almost completely separate from the tomato for easy removal.

7. Once the tomatoes are cool enough to handle, remove the stem core and the skins.  Save those for your awesome compost bin.

The above steps are an ongoing process: put some tomatoes in the boiling water, remove them, put more in, work on the tomatoes in the ice bath, repeat.  This goes on until you have a nice pile of peeled tomatoes.

8. Heat up some olive oil in a large pot.

9. Add the peeled/cored tomatoes to the olive oil. Crush them a bit to release the juice and let them warm up. 

10. After the tomatoes have cooked down a bit, start running them through a food mill. 

The food mill crushes the tomatoes and separates the 'meat' from any leftover skins and seeds. Some seeds might make it through, but that's okay.

Be sure to scrape off the bottom of the mill--you don't want to miss all the great stuff hanging there.

At this point, what you are left with doesn't look too promising.  Don't be discouraged!  Tomatoes are 95% water, and this needs to simmer down in order to thicken up. 

11. Return the red glop to the pot, and simmer it for 2-3 hours.  I added some fresh basil at this point, but naturally forgot to take pictures. My bad.   Simmer the sauce down and once it thickens up, it's ready to add to the pasta.  Delicious!

Because I am not completely Martha-fied, I used boxed Barilla noodles.  One day I'll learn to make my own pasta noodles, I swear!  This batch of sauce was just right for one regular box of fettuccine noodles.

To liven up your sauce, feel free to add onions, garlic, oregano and more at the simmer step.  After your sauce is done, you can eat it immediately, save it in the fridge for a few days, freeze it or can it for enjoyment months down the road. 

I'll be making some more sauce in my immediate future, as another round of Roma tomatoes are ripening.  Happy saucing!


Anonymous said...

I love the idea of home-made sauce, but it's just so much work. And I don't have that many tomatoes. Good for you for making your own! L

Amanda said...

It's so so so much different from canned. Once the sauce is simmering the work is pretty much done, so in that regard I don't think it takes me any more time than making any other dinner does. I just wish I had more tomatoes!