Day 30: Homemade Tomato Sauce: 31 Days of Simple Recipes

by - October 30, 2011

Few days earlier I had shared a recipe for Homemade Pizza Dough. That day I didn't feel like making the tomato sauce myself and cheated by using Pomi Strained Crushed Tomatoes. ;)

But for yesterday's brunch I wanted to make quality stuff. I decided to make Chai, Non Alcholic Sangria for drinks. For main I wanted to make atleast four different pizzas with baked potato wedges for sides. Couple of my guests had informed me that they would bring a dessert and a pasta salad. Thankfully, I didn't have to worry about that! I did try making pistachio macaroons... Didn't work out. :( Will try making them again in a couple of days...

Coming back to the tomato sauce... I know buying a jar of pizza sauce was an easier option. I didn't want to. There's something about the smell of store bought pizza sauce that puts me off. Moreover, making your own sauce isn't that difficult. You would have most of the ingredients in your pantry. Yes, you will have to spent about an hour in the kitchen unless you want your sauce burnt! That's the only downside. But then, is it really?

I've tried couple of recipes for tomato sauce and so far this is the best! I don't think I will ever try another recipe again. You may think that I'am exaggerating when I say that this sauce instantly reminded me of the sphagettis and pizzas I had in Italy when on vacation. Trust me, I'am not! I was immediately taken back to Italy and the thought that crossed my mind was 'Oh, so this is how they make tomato sauce in Italy!'

Fresh Tomato Sauce (Recipe Courtsey: Smitten Kitchen) 
Yield: About 4 cups sauce
4 pounds sad, unloved tomatoes
1/4 cup olive oil
Small onion
2 to 3 small cloves of garlic
1/2 medium carrot
1/2 stalk of celery
1/2 teaspoon salt plus more to taste
Slivers of fresh basil, to finish (I didn't have any basil, so skipped them)

Peel your tomatoes: Bring a pot of water to boil. Cut a small X at the bottom of each tomato. Blanche the tomatoes in the boiling water for 10 to 30 seconds, then either rinse under cold water or shock in an ice water bath. Peeling the tomatoes should now be a cinch. If one gives you trouble, toss it back in the boiling water for another 10 seconds until the skin loosens up. Discard the skins (or get creative with them).
Finish preparing your tomatoes: If using plum tomatoes, halve each lengthwise. If using beefsteak or another round variety, quarter them. Squeeze the seeds out over a strainer over a bowl and reserve the juices. Either coarsely chop you tomatoes on a cutting board or use a potato masher to do so in your pot, as you cook them in a bit.
Prepare your vegetables: Finely chop onion and mince carrot, celery and garlic. Or pulse all four on the food processor to form a paste. All of these methods work.
Cook your sauce: Heat olive oil in a large pot over meduim. Cook onions, carrots, celery and garlic, until they just start to take on a little color, about 10 minutes. Add tomatoes and bring to a simmer, lowering the heat to medium-low to keep it at a gentle simmer. If you haven’t chopped them yet, use a potato masher to break them up as you cook them. Simmer your sauce, stirring occasionally. At 30 minutes, you’ll have a fine pot of tomato sauce, but at 45 minutes, you might just find tomato sauce nirvana: more caramelized flavors, more harmonized texture.
If your sauce seems to be getting thicker than you want it to be, add back the reserved tomato juice as need. If your sauce is too lumpy for your taste, use an immersion blender to break it down to your desired texture. (This is what I did)
Season with 1/2 teaspoon salt and more to taste. Scatter fresh basil over the pot before serving. Taste once more
My sauce was a bit dry. I guess the tomatoes I used weren't juicy enough. Next time I will look for more juicy tomatoes. :)
I made the sauce a day earlier and stored it in my fridge. It was just as tasty the next day and I received many compliments on the flavour. ;) So give it a try and let me know!

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