As we were using the very last of the strawberry jam this weekend (note to self, next year make lots more), a lovely blogger that I cannot find now posted about making freezer tomato sauce. Conscious of the bevy of beautiful tomatoes available at the farmers market right now, I decided to give it a try.
Although there are many recipes to choose from, this is the one I picked. I made the recipe exactly as written, except I didn't puree it at the end because I like a chunkier sauce.
We had some over eggplant for dinner the other night and it was so good. I love the flavor of the wine with the tomatoes and garlic. (And speaking of garlic, it used up three whole bulbs from our stash--yay!) Seeding the tomatoes was a little bit of work, but if you had a little kid who didn't mind getting his or her hands gooshy it could be a very fun (albeit messy) afternoon project.
It was also nice to be able to choose what size container to pour the sauce into. I used pint jars instead of quarts, so our sauce is perfectly portioned out for two with no waste, as often happens to us when we buy store-sized bottles.
Based on the lesson learned with the strawberry jam (i.e. if it's good make more), I think I'm going to make at least a double batch of this sauce sometime before tomatoes start going out of season. For the recipe, read onward.
Garlic and Red Wine Freezer Tomato Sauce (Makes 2 quarts)
4 1/2 pounds plum tomatoes
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3/4 cup chopped garlic (about 2 heads)
4 cups diced onions (3-4 medium)
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 cup red wine
2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
Freshly ground pepper to taste
1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Place a large bowl of ice water next to the stove. Using a sharp paring knife, core the tomatoes and score a small "X" into the flesh on the bottom.
2. Place the tomatoes in the boiling water, in batches, until the skins are slightly loosened, 30 seconds to 2 minutes.
3. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the tomatoes to the ice water and let sit in
the water for 1 minute before removing.
4. Place a sieve over a bowl; working over it, peel the tomatoes using a paring knife, and let the skins fall into the sieve.
5. Halve the tomatoes crosswise and scoop out the seeds with a hooked finger, letting the sieve catch the seeds. Press the seeds and skins to extract any extra juice. Coarsely chop and set aside.
6. Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant and just beginning to color, 2 to 3 minutes. Add onions and salt, stir to coat, cover and cook, stirring often and adjusting heat as necessary to prevent burning, until soft and turning golden, 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in tomato paste and oregano and cook, stirring often, until the tomato paste is beginning to brown on the bottom of the pan, 2 to 4 minutes.
7. Pour in wine and vinegar; bring to a simmer, scraping up any browned bits with a spoon. Cook until reduced slightly, about 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and any juice; return to a simmer, stirring often. Reduce heat to maintain a gentle simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes are mostly broken down, about 25 minutes. Remove from the heat; stir in basil and pepper. Transfer the sauce, in batches, to a blender or food processor. (Use caution when pureeing hot liquids.) Process until desired consistency. For a smooth sauce, puree it all; for a chunky sauce, puree just half and mix it back into the rest of the sauce.
NUTRITION INFORMATION: Per 1/2 cup: 89 calories; 4 g fat (1 g sat, 3 g mono); 0 mg cholesterol; 12 g carbohydrate; 2 g protein; 2 g fiber; 223 mg sodium; 417 mg potassium.