Sunday, January 12, 2014

Our Favorite Tomato Sauce

Oh, I'd say I've made this tomato sauce every week for the last few months.  It's simple and, in fact, our favorite tomato sauce.  I use it for pasta dishes and pizzas alike.  We never tire of this simple sauce.   With this recipe, I either have the sauce in my refrigerator or tomatoes on my counter waiting to be made into sauce.  I'm smartening up today and making a double recipe.

The proportions on this does not need to be perfectly exact.  I eyeball it and adjust according to taste.  Since we're dealing with fresh tomatoes, sugar content varies somewhat.  In the summer, when tomatoes are in season here, the tomatoes are much more sweet and flavorful than they are during the off season.  When buying the tomatoes this time of year, they are rarely ripe enough in the store to make a really good sauce.  Therefore, I am buying the tomatoes at least a few days or a week ahead to allow them to get really ripe before using.  We all know tomatoes in the summer here are best.  Ripening on the vine produces more natural sweetness and flavor in the tomatoes.  But this time of year, thinking a little ahead of time, helps produce a better sauce.

20 Fresh Roma tomatoes, about 4 ½ to 5 pounds
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
3 garlic cloves
2 to 3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
¼ cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
freshly ground pepper

Cut tomatoes into large pieces and purée with a food processor.
In  large pot, heat olive oil and garlic over low heat until the garlic starts to sizzle.



Add the puréed tomatoes, stir together with the olive oil.  Turn heat up to medium, cover the pot and bring tomatoes to a boil.
Stir once again, add the sugar and salt and turn heat back to low.  Cover and simmer the sauce for 90 minutes, stirring occasionally.  
Uncover, turn heat up to medium, boil for about 20 minutes to thicken the sauce.  Give it a good stir about every 5 minutes.  It will have reduced to about ⅔ of its original volume and be quite thick.
Stir in the basil leaves, add several turns of the pepper mill, and you're ready to go.
Use as is for a pizza sauce, in a lasagna, on eggplant parmesan, so many possibilities.  Or add a little cream and sausage for a pasta sauce with some homemade pasta.  Outstanding.
This will keep in the refrigerator for up to a week or in the freezer for months.  

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