Sunday, August 31, 2014

Simple Tomato Sauce (Italian Style)

August is a great month for tomatoes, many are ready for picking and eating and also processing.
My friend John owns a nursery/greenhouse, (Coastal Sun Greenhouses)
 and this year his tomato plants produced extremely well.
One of his clients ordered 50 plants of cherry tomatoes but decided not to take them and John decided he would grow them in his greenhouse and sell them at the local Farmers Market.  The tomatoes did so well that he was picking 30-50 pounds a day and not knowing what to do with them, he put them in 5 pound bags and froze them!  I bought a few bags (10) of these frozen tomatoes and decided to make some tomato sauce for winter eats.  My best friend Helena explained to me how the Italian community (her sister is married to an Italian) makes their tomato sauce. Thank you dear friend.  This is the basic process, I have added measurements as per my 'recipe'....delicious, simple, fragrant and a great way to use the tomatoes and the basil from my garden.   I do not peel the tomatoes as I like the added fibre of the peel but do use a hand blender to blend all ingredients for a beautifully smooth tomato sauce.  I add mushrooms, shredded cheese to this basic tomato sauce for pizza, lasagna, and even poaching eggs for a breakfast treat served over my sourdough English Muffins.....Yum!  I do hope you your try this wonderful tomato sauce.


This sauce is perfect for some spaghetti noodles, a lasagne or even eggs poached in it for breakfast..
The ingredients you will need......tomatoes....either cherry or other varieties.


 Fresh basil,  above,( olive oil, salt and red pepper flakes (not shown)

Combine all ingredients  (except tomato paste) in a large pot and bring to a simmer
One small can of tomato paste

All the ingredients are in the pot and are starting to cook.

The tomato sauce after it has been simmering for about an hour.

The tomato sauce after simmering 5 hours and after being blended.
The tomato paste is stirred in and simmered once again.

 The completed sauce, so thick and fragrant and ready for your dish of choice.

7 pounds tomatoes
1 head garlic, peeled
1 bunch fresh basil leaves (approximately 1 cup loosely packed)
1/4 - 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1-2 Tablespoons salt
1 small can Tomato Paste
red pepper flakes (optional)
Place tomatoes (I used cherry tomatoes but if you are using larger tomatoes chop into quarters)
into a large pot, peeled whole garlic cloves, basil leaves, olive oil, salt (to taste) and red pepper flakes.  Bring to a boil at medium/low heat and then simmer gently for approximately 4-5 hours.
adding another 3-4 Tablespoons of olive oil half ways through. After the 5 hours stir in the tomato paste and bring back to a simmer, let simmer for another 10 minutes. Taste and adjust salt.
Using a hand blender, blend all ingredients together to make a smooth sauce.  Pour into sterilized jars and seal.  Process 12 - 15 minutes in water bath.  When cooking you can  add mushrooms, more vegetables or cheese for a little more protein.
This recipe makes approximately 18- 20 cups of sauce.

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