Prep 20 mins
Cook 2 hrs
Check out this trick - a whole, unpeeled tomato goes in the pot, and a tasty, seed-free, peel-free tomato sauce comes out! Okay, well, maybe it's not really magic, but it's a great trick to save you from having to peel, chop, and de-seed all those tomatoes (which is the reason I almost never made sauce from my garden tomatoes until now). We'll take care of the peels and seeds with a blender/food processor and a fine mesh strainer. Yes, a couple of extra things to clean, but it's still faster than all that peeling and chopping! Also, because the peels are cooked in the sauce, you preserve more of the nutrients in them. This is a highly customizable recipe (really more a framework than anything else) - make it smooth or chunky, with meat or vegetarian, regular or low-sodium, or even use it to hide a few extra veggies (a tip for you parents of picky children - you can make them completely undetectable). The quantities are inexact because there's so much variation in the size, taste and texture of fresh tomatoes, and anything else you add will change the flavor. So you really have to adjust the seasonings and other ingredients to compensate. This is part of the art of making tomato sauce, but don't be intimidated! Just add a little bit at a time until it tastes right to you, remembering the axiom: "You can always put more in, but you can't take it back out." Unless you have a real magic wand, of course. :) NOTE: The quality of tomatoes will make or break this sauce; you MUST use fresh, vine-ripened tomatoes from your garden or a local farmer's market, not the variety you find in the grocery store that's been shipped in from another state.
- 1⁄3 cup olive oil
- 1 large onion, peeled and coarsely chopped
- 5 fresh garlic cloves, peeled and slightly crushed (may substitute jarred)
- 1 (10 ounce) can condensed beef broth (may substitute chicken or vegetable)
- 3⁄4 cup red wine (may substitute white, or extra broth)
- 20 whole fresh tomatoes (exact quantity varies based on size)
- 2 (6 ounce) cans tomato paste (may need more depending on thickness desired)
- herbs, to taste (I recommend basil and oregano, fresh or dried)
- salt and pepper, to taste
- meat (optional)
- vegetables (optional)
- Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add chopped onions and garlic, and cook until onions are slightly soft and golden, stirring occasionally.
- Pour in broth and wine, increase heat to high, and bring to a boil.
- Meanwhile, wash tomatoes. Cut off tops and any damaged parts. Add whole tomatoes to the pot as you go (reserve extra tomatoes to peel, dice and add later if you want a chunky sauce). Note: when I make this, I add however many tomatoes will fit in my 6-quart pot - you will adjust other ingredients later so the exact quantity doesn't matter.
- You may add extra uncooked veggies you wish to "hide" in the sauce now. Some ideas - peas, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, even a little spinach. Be aware that it may slightly alter the color of the sauce - it can make it a little more orangey - but the tomatoes and seasonings will completely mask the flavor as long as you don't go overboard and add too much.
- When all the tomatoes have been added and the broth is boiling, reduce heat to low and cover. Simmer for about an hour, and then turn off heat.
- Ladle sauce into a blender or food processor until about 2/3 full - you will need to work in batches. It will be soupy and very hot, so be careful. Process until smooth (there will still be some seeds visible).
- Pass sauce through a fine mesh strainer into a large bowl. Use a spoon to scrape the sides of the strainer if it clogs, and press all the liquid out. Discard the seeds and pulp from the peels that are left in the strainer. Carefully return sauce to the pot, and place back on medium-high heat.
- Add tomato paste until sauce is of desired thickness. Add seasonings to taste. Add any additional ingredients you want - diced tomatoes, browned beef or chicken, mushrooms, etc.
- Return sauce to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for another 30-60 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings as necessary. If sauce is too tangy, you can add a little sugar to balance it. It will be done when it tastes just right!
I made a quarter of the recipe and cooked in it my pressure cooker (only 15 min.!). I loved the sauce! I added some additional t. paste to use as pizza sauce, and saved the rest for pasta. I did puree the pizza sauce, but used a potato masher to break up the tomatoes for the pasta. I would recommend having extra t. paste around in case you need to thicken it. I used extra garlic and a few sprinkles of dried onion, and white wine. It was great on grilled pizza and pasta! I will use it next time for lasagna, too. Thanks for posting, ItalianMama Roxygirl
As written, this sauce did not work for me. I follwed the directions exactly, pureed my first batch of tomatoes and liquid, put the mixture in a fine mesh strainer - and a small amount of tomato came through, with a lot of tomato pulp waste left over. Not sure what happened, or if my mesh strainer was "too' fine? I did blend it very well in my Cuisinart food processor, so I know that wasn't a problem. I'm not sure how to rectify this, but this is what happened to me. The second batch, I pulled out a food mill and pureed the tomatoes through that. It worked like a charm, and much quicker than it would have been for me to try and scrape all of the tomato puree through my mesh strainer. If anyone wants to try this recipe and has a food mill, I recommend this method if the strainer method does not work to your liking. I added balsamic vinegar, a bit of sugar, dried Italian seasoning, and two cups of diced tomatoes when the sauce was done. It was pretty tasty! I did appreciate how I did not have to seed, peel, and chop my tomatoes. I do plan on using this recipe again, only using the food mill instead of a food processor and a strainer.
We had a ton of tomatoes & this was the perfect use for them. My first time making my own sauce & I couldn't be happier. I had read other recipes but the thought of having to cook, peel & deseed seemed to be so much work. This method was so easy, with cutting the stems off the tomatoes the most work and that was nothing. I must say that the easiest way to blend the sauce after the initial boiling was with a hand-held immersion blender. I tried in the regular blender but it was too powerful & I ended up with sauce all over the kitchen & myself. I had no problem getting it through the strainer, I just pulled it out of the pan with a 2-cup measuring cup & strained it a bit at a time. I put in 1 tsp of oregano & 1 tsp of basil & maybe a half teaspoon of Italian seasonings. I will definitely be making this again. Planning on just freezing in bags for the rest of the year.