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September 10, 2011

It's tomato sauce day 2011!

The makings of our Tomato Sauce started off with a large box of fresh Roma's we picked up from the St. Paul Farmers market. I think we have finally gotten a quick process down for removing the skins because we finished in under an hour. (minus the time for the water to actually boil) I have had a few people including my sister in-law ask how to make sauce so I thought I would outline a basic one here that can tweaked and toyed with until it tastes like you want it to.  So with that being said here is how I got organized to start making sauce.
  • A large stock pot of boiling water
  • A pot of ice water
  • A clean bowl for the composting skins or to toss in trash later (I’m not judging)
  • A paring knife to score tomatoes and then cut out their tasteless core
  • A couple empty casserole pans or large bowls or pots to hold peeled and cored tomatoes
  • Metal strainer or Something Similar to scoop tomatoes out of boiling water
  • A food processor
  • Last but most important to me, An Assistant!!!
Once everything was assembled my assistant and I took turns scoring the bottoms of our tomatoes and placing them into our sherbert bucket until full. We then alternated between scoring tomatoes and placing the tomatoes in boiling water for about 2 minutes and then scooping them out with a metal strainer to the be placed into the ice water. We both peeled, cored, and/or cut bad spots out of them. They were then placed in the casserole pan and large pot/bowl until we had completed the whole box of tomatoes.
Now that the tomatoes have been peeled and cored we moved onto chopping them up in the food processor. This is not an essential step for some people, but it does cut down substantially on the cooking time. Last year I wished I had done this after the fact, but this year I was on it! After chopping up the tomatoes in batches that would fit my machine I poured the contents back into the now empty and cleaned bowl while I cleaned out my pots. (I ended up with two pots almost full to the top)

For the actual cooking down of the sauce I used:
  • 1 Xtra large pot or two standard Pots of peeled and chopped roma tomatoes
  • 2 1/2 - 3 yellow onions
  • 1 whole bulb of garlic (de-cloved and peeled)
  • A couple hand-full of fresh basil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • A couple tablespoons of Olive oil
In the food processor I tossed the garlic and onion (skins removed). I did a quick chop not too fine before I sweated them out in a little olive oil. I then divided this mixture between the two pots of chopped tomatoes which I then started to heat on medium for about 1 1/2 to 2 hours. When the sauce started to reduce I added basil and seasonings to taste. I reduced some more until it was a consistency I liked which is not too loose but not so thick I can spread on toast.
NOTE: If you choose not to use a paste tomato you will have to take the seeds out by hand after peeling or with a food mill before chopping and reducing down to sauce. This will save you a lot of headache and stomach ache later. The seeds from non paste varieties can leave you with a very over powering bitter before and after taste so BEWARE.