The Never Ending tomatoes...

>> Tuesday, October 09, 2007

I still had more tomatoes left after slooooow roasting about 15lbs, so I decided to make my own tomato sauce, something I have never done before. Oh, I have made tomato sauce before but only using canned tomatoes, never fresh. The thought of peeling all those tomatoes never sounded like too much fun, opening a can was much easier! But I thought I would give it a go instead of letting the fruit flies have their way with them.
It really wasn't that bad. After blanching the tomatoes in boiling water for a few minutes the skins came right off. Who knew???

The smell of the blanched peeled tomatoes instantly brought me back to being a child at my grandfathers house on the pond. I must have done this same thing with him, not remembering until years later when the fresh smell of tomatoes filled my own kitchen. It is amazing how a certain smell can transport you into another place in time.

The recipe I used was adapted from a Martha Stewart recipe for fresh tomato sauce but I decided to kick it up bit and I added fresh basil and sausage towards the end. It really was delicious. We have used it on pasta (the obvious choice) and also for homemade sausage pizza. And we still had enough to freeze for a cold winter day when the only fresh tomatoes around are those pale pink ones that should not even be called tomatoes. Maybe we could rename them, hard mealy flavorless fruit. Wonder who I should talk to about this?

Anyway here's the recipe:

Fresh Tomato Sauce With Sausage And Basil
adapted from Martha Stewart

10 pounds beefsteak or plum tomatoes (or a combination)
1/4 cup olive oil
1 medium onion, coarsely grated
6 garlic cloves, smashed
Coarse salt and ground pepper
2 tablespoons tomato paste
couple good hand fulls fresh basil
1-2 lbs sweet Italian sausage casing removed

Bring a large pot of water to a boil; meanwhile, prepare a large bowl of ice water. With a paring knife, core tomatoes, and score an X on the bottoms. Working in batches, carefully lower tomatoes into boiling water; when skins begin to split (30 to 60 seconds), use a slotted spoon to transfer tomatoes to ice water.
When tomatoes are cool, remove skins (use a paring knife, if necessary), and discard. Finely chop tomatoes.
In a Dutch oven (or other large pot), heat oil over medium-high. Add onion and garlic; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until onion is soft, 4 to 5 minutes. Add tomato paste; cook, stirring, until slightly darkened, 1 to 2 minutes.
Add tomatoes, and stir to combine. Bring mixture to a boil; reduce heat to medium-low. Cover, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until thick and saucy, about 1 1/2 hours. Season with salt and pepper.
In the mean time, remove casing from sausage and cook over medium heat in olive oil until crispy and crumbly. After the sauce has simmered for 1 1/2 hours add the cooked sausage and fresh basil. Simmer for a while longer just to let the flavors blend.Use immediately, or freeze in airtight containers up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature or in microwave before warming.


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