I love when I start getting pounds upon pounds of sweet, fresh, delicious tomatoes from the farm each August. I tend to make caprese like it’s going out of style, and I use tomatoes in so many other dishes, but there’s always enough to make at least one, if not several, large batches of sauce. And I absolutely love being able to pluck a container of homemade sauce out of the freezer mid-winter when I want some comfort food.
This is more like rough documentation rather than exact amounts or specific timing. I have a basic process that I like to follow, but I adjust everything to what I’m in the mood for at the time.
- lots and lots of tomatoes
- garlic, minced
- fresh oregano
- fresh basil
- butter and/or olive oil
- salt and pepper
- Slice an X into the bottom of each tomato and boil for 45 seconds. Transfer to a cold water bath. Peel tomatoes. Slice in half and try to remove as many of the seeds as possible. When I’m making a large batch I end up getting rather lazy with seed removal by the time I’ve gone through so many tomatoes. ;)
- Dice onion, carrots, and celery and saute for about 10 minutes in a large pan with olive oil and/or butter.
- Add garlic, cook for a minute, then add tomatoes.
- Simmer for about 45 minutes and remove from heat.
- If I want a smooth, less chunky sauce then I’ll puree the sauce to my desired thickness with an immersion blender. Otherwise skip this step for chunky sauce.
- Add julienned fresh basil, oregano, more minced garlic, and season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Bring to a simmer for another 10-15 minutes.
- Serve as is or cool and store.
A lot of times before serving sauce, whether freshly made or pulled out of the fridge or freezer, I’ll doctor is up quite a bit. I’ve added red wine to batches in the past, but for the most part I’ve found that it makes the sauce a bit too sweet for me, even if I use a bold, dry red. Some of the items I tend to add are:
- Saute onions and garlic in butter
- Add meat to the pan (ground beef, pork, or sausage, or maybe chicken thighs)
- Add other veggies to the pan (most often mushrooms, but sometime eggplant, zucchini, peppers, etc)
- Add crushed red pepper flakes
- Then add sauce to pan and add even more fresh basil (and more fresh garlic if you want some bite)
- Add cream and/or vodka
- Top with grated fresh Parmesan