It was a bad season for our tomatoes, but miraculously, my mom’s garden is overflowing with red globes of deliciousness. She weighed us down with 2 baskets of tomatoes last weekend, so I immediately went about turning them into homemade pasta sauce. Two days and multiple batches later, I had about 8 cups of sauce ready to go into deep freeze; they will help keep this winter’s dinners bright and delicious. The season is in full swing now, so clear out some freezer space and give your biggest pot a pep-talk, it’s time to get sauced.
10-15 C. tomatoes, halved (or as many as you can fit in your stove pot)
1-2 white onions, chopped
1-2 T. olive oil (depending on size of pot)
½ C. fresh basil
¼ C. fresh oregano
2 bay leaves
5-7 black peppercorns
Prep time: 15-20 min
Cook time: ~24 hours
-Place your biggest stockpot on a burner on medium-high.
-Chop your onion(s) and sauté in the pot with the olive oil; once they are translucent and starting to brown, begin cutting your tomatoes into the pot. I like to have a bowl to keep stems and any rotted pieces in as I pare and halve the tomatoes.
-Once your pot is mostly full, stir a bit with a wooden spoon, then add the basil, oregano, bay leaves and peppercorns.
-Stir sporadically as the tomatoes begin to cook down over the next 20 min or so.
-Once everything begins to look like sauce and is bubbling slightly, turn the heat down to medium/medium-low and let it simmer uncovered for the rest of the day. Check on it to make sure it’s continuing to cook down without burning, and then cover and turn the heat to low overnight.
-Remove lid and turn heat back to medium/medium-low in the morning and let it continue to cook down.
-After about 24 hours, you should have a lumpy sauce that is almost half the volume it was at the start.
-To remove the seeds, skins and herbs, you will need a food mill and a large bowl. Carefully pour or scoop enough sauce into the food mill to fill without sloshing any over the sides, then mill until only pulp remains. Dump the pulp into a separate bowl and repeat until all of the sauce has been processed.
-If it’s still thin, you can cook it down further; otherwise, feel free to add salt and additional seasonings immediately or just freeze as is. You can also salt, spice and use your sauce at this point without freezing.