Posted by: A Part of the Solution | September 7, 2010

All Purpose Tomato Sauce

This is a tomato sauce you can store in the freezer. It’s a tomato sauce you can make in quantity. It’s a tomato sauce with versatility built in to it. It tastes, mainly, of tomatoes.

So this all purpose tomato sauce will work on pasta. This tomato sauce will work in casseroles. It will work with lasagna or manicotti. My all purpose tomato sauce can even be added to soups for which you desire a tomato base. And it uses up tomatoes, lots of tomatoes. So get on down to the farmers’ market, wait ’til they’re closing up the stalls, and buy as many tomatoes as anyone will sell you cheaply.

This sauce is readily scalable. You can make lots more than I give volumes for. You can make much less tomato sauce than I suggest, but the process is enough work that I don’t recommend it. Freeze what you don’t want to use right away. You can either freeze the tomato sauce flat in zipper lock bags; or for ultra-convenience, you may freeze the sauce in ice cube trays and dump them into zipper lock bags when they’re frozen.

All Purpose Tomato Sauce

1 peck, 13.5 lbs, of tomatoes

3 TBSP vegetable oil or drippings

1 1/2 lbs yellow onion (about three medium or two large, or six small)

8 oz carrots, 3 or so large ones, five medium–or a mess of heirlooms

1 bulb of garlic

8 oz mushrooms, white is fine here

6 oz celery stalks, leafy tops included

2 bell peppers, or a handful of banana peppers, or 3 Hungarian wax peppers, or a bunch of cherry bombs (and all the peppers are optional)

2 TBSP tomato sauce

4 oz red wine (optional)

2 tsp Worcestershire sauce

1 TBSP soy sauce

2 bay leaves

Salt and pepper

Get a large pot of water up to a rolling boil. Put the tomatoes in a few at a time and leave them there for: 30 seconds if they’re large; 15 seconds if they’re medium; 10 seconds if they’re small. Have a large bowl and a small bowl with a strainer laid over it ready–and your compost bucket. Peel the tomato skins off and throw them in the bucket. Open the tomatoes and drain all the seeds and goop into the strainer. Roughly tear or chop the tomato flesh and put it in the large bowl.

In a large–five or six quarts should do it–heavy-bottomed pan, heat the oil over moderate heat. Peel and chop the onions and add them to the pan. Next, peel the carrots, cut them into very small dice and add them to the pan. Skin the garlic by banging on each clove with the flat side of your chef’s knife. Trim away the coarse top and mince the garlic–add it to the pan, and give everything a stir. Chop the mushrooms small and add them to the pan along with 1/2 tsp salt. Cut the celery into very small dice and add it to the pan. Next seed the peppers (if using), cut them small and add them to the pan. Let everything sauté for about five minutes.

Now add the Worcestershire sauce, the soy sauce, the wine (if using) and the tomato paste. Let it come to a bubble and reduce for three to five minutes. Add the bay leaves, the tomatoes and the reserved tomato water from the bowl under the strainer. Allow the sauce to come to a boil, reduce it to a low simmer and remember to stir it a couple times an hour for the next three or four hours. Adjust the heat lower after the first hour, and once an hour thereafter. Correct the seasoning with salt and freshly ground pepper.

Voila! All Purpose Tomato Sauce!

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