Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Tomato Sauce

It's nearing the end of summer and my tomatoes are overwhelming me in every way possible.  The squirrels are getting their fill as well, as on some days I just cannot pick them fast enough.  It's ok, I would rather them enjoy a small tomato than my beans and herbs.  

Right now we all enjoy tomatoes to the fullest, but in 3 or 4 months it's back to the bland, pithy varieties gassed to oblivion in the food market.  My tomato consumption dips quite a lot in the winter months.  To counterbalance this, I'm trying to preserve what I can this summer so I may enjoy it throughout the year (jam too, but that's another post).  Not to mention it saves me a fortune by using seasonal ingredients now.  So what's fresh this week?  TOMATOES!

A good tomato sauce can make dinner a pinch by topping a pizza, tossed with pasta and meat, or combined with numerous other ingredients to make my life a little bit easier.  So I season and prepare this sauce like I want to eat it straight up.  It makes preparation in the future much easier.  I also use a food mill to remove skins and seeds

Roasted Tomato Sauce

1 medium onion, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
2 carrots, diced
4 cloves garlic, diced
3-4 pounds tomatoes
3 tablespoons + 2 tablespoons olive oil
¼ c red wine
Salt (at least 2 tablespoons)
2 tablespoon fresh basil, chopped fine
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped fine
2 bay leaves
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flake
1 tablespoon tomato paste

Preheat oven to 400°C.  Arrange tomatoes in a large baking dish and drizzle with 2 tablespoon olive oil.  Roast for 30 minutes.  If you do not have a food mill, remove the skins before roasting!  Do this by cutting a small "x" in the bottom of each tomato (skin deep) and blanching in hot water for 30 seconds.  The skin should peel off.

 In a large pot, heat 3 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and sauté until wilted, about 5 minutes. Add the celery, carrots, and some salt, sauté until starting to soften, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add the bay leaf, red pepper flake, and wine, allowing the wine to mostly bubble off. 

Remove tomatoes from oven and run through a food mill (if you do not have one, you can use a potato masher in the pot). Add the tomatoes and bring the sauce to a simmer. Once it reaches this, simmer for 30 minutes or until starting to slightly thicken, stirring occasionally. Add the basil, parsley, and tomato paste. Cook for another 10 minutes. Adjust seasonings to your liking, blend to a coarse sauce if desired (with an immersion blender or in your food processor), cool, and use. Can be stored in the refrigerator or frozen for future use.