How We Make Tomato Sauce

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Last week, someone asked me about how we make tomato sauce.  It's not so much a recipe as it is a method, but here's the general idea.

First, when we get tomatoes from the garden or our CSA, I typically cut them into chunks, and toss them on a baking sheet with four or five cloves of garlic and enough olive oil to coat them.  After roasting them for a few hours at about 250 degrees, I put them in pint jars (don't fill them to the top, or they'll break) and pop them in the freezer.

When I'm ready to make sauce, I thaw out a few jars.  Then, I warm a little olive oil in a big pot.  I add about half of a diced onion, and let it cook until the bits are just a little soft.  Next, I add the tomatoes, and often a few more cloves of garlic.  I also stir in a handful of diced herbs.  This varies based on what we have.  Often, it's oregano from the garden or a basil cube from the freezer.  Lastly, a little tomato paste can be nice to make the sauce thicker.  I usually don't have any--so it's fine without--but put a big spoonful in if you have some on hand.

I let the sauce simmer together until it's bubbly and warm.  It largely depends on how much time I have.  Longer is better, but 15 or 20 minutes is plenty good for a busy weeknight.  (That's why I pre-roast the tomatoes--so that I don't have to cook them as long later.)  Depending on how juicy the tomatoes are, I sometimes add about a half of a cup of water as the sauce cooks.  If it looks like it's sticking to the bottom of the pot, add water; if not, just stir it gently every few minutes.

The sauce is good when you leave the tomatoes in chunks, but sometimes I also use my immersion blender to break up the tomatoes.  Again, it largely depends on what mood I'm in, how much time I have, and whether the Kid is otherwise occupied or not.

This is great on spaghetti, but don't feel limited to pasta.  We also like it for eggs in purgatory, pizza, and this week we're trying it over kale with spicy meatballs.