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Tomato Sauce

September 24, 2010


Normally at this time of the year I am finishing up on our family’s canning and food production but this year that is not the case. We have had a cool summer with only eight weeks of heat, therefore it is mid September and my tomatoes are just now ripening.

The bad thing of a cool summer is that my tomatoes have grown to the size of eggplants! I have Roma’s the size of softballs and an amazing amount of green tomatoes for this late in the year. Luckily, the weather forecast says we should be having some warm days coming in next week ~ come on tomatoes!!!

I did manage to scrape together enough tomatoes to get in a batch of sauce. I like to make my sauce very simple: onions, garlic, olive oil, herbs and wine. Nothing extra, nothing artificial, just plain tomatoey goodness with proper spices. After blanching my tomatoes to loosen the skins I like to run them through a tomato puree machine.

After running them through the machine I heat up some olive oil ( save your extra virgin, cold pressed stuff for a proper vinaigrette, a basic olive oil will do just fine here) and sauté a whole diced yellow onion, three cloves of garlic and a big bunch of thyme, basil and oregano. I like to grow my herbs in pots outside on my patio and they definitely come in handy during tomato canning season. All the herbs used in my sauce come from these pots.

After all the aromatics are soft and fragrant, I add a third of a bottle of red wine. The wine give the sauce a deep, heady flavor that I think is needed in tomato sauce but luckily you cannot detect it. Now the kind of red wine you use really depends on your taste: use a Cabernet if you like the heaviness, a Zinfandel if you enjoy the tangy, but I would stay away from a Pinot Noir just because they really are too light for the tomatoes and its flavor would get lost with all the other ingredients. After the wine I add the tomato puree and let the whole thing come to a boil. Turn the heat down and simmer for about two hours or until it has reduce by about a third and is as thick as you would like it.

My family uses this sauce for pastas, lasagna, and soups all winter long. This batch made my three quarts of canned sauce, which should be a good start for our winter canning.

Hope you enjoy!!

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