Is it possible to make a good sauce from non-Plum homegrown tomatoes?
My attempts to use up the tons of non-plum varieties I have have usually resulted in a watery sauce. They taste great raw. Should I roast the tomatoes to concentrate their flavor before making a sauce? Or, do non-plum varieties just not ever make very good tomato sauce?
I've made good sauce with non-plum tomatoes. First, make sure you seed and skin them, and then you need to cook them down at a long slow simmer. They will thicken eventually.
Roasting them first sounds like a good idea, too!
After peeling and seeding, drain the tomato water by placing the cut up tomatoes in a colander. Tomato water can be frozen for later use. There was a fad among some fancy chefs not too many years ago to use tomato water in various ways. We separated it years ago to get more concentrated puree.
Tomato water makes a great liquid to use in making vegetable stocks. The pectin-acid balance produces some of the consistency and mouth feel associated with the gelatine extracted from bones used in meat stocks.
A friend uses these for her own home-made Bloody Mary Mix. Find a good tomato juice recipe and spice it up a little.
I did this one year, canned the juice in quart jars and gave it at Christmas with bottles of good Vodka. Big hit!!!
A lot quicker than cooking everything down forever.
Next year plant more Romas. Or you might decide you like making Bloodies!
We make it out of non-plum tomatoes all the time. For just us, I don't bother to deseed and skin - I just hit it with the food processor/stick blender after cooking it down. Sure, it is smoother without, but this is lots faster! I also roast tomatoes (skin on too, again for the convenience). I store tomatoes over the winter in the freezer roasted first or in unflavored sauce form and throw them in recipes whenever I need some tomato.
You just have to reduce it more. Homegrown non-plum tomatoes are better than canned plum any day.
I use non-plums too, but (thanks to Nigel Slater) I like to roast the suckers in the oven first, with a little olive oil, some garlic, some balsamic, a few basil leaves tucked in here and there. I find it concentrates the flavour more.
I've enjoyed pasta sauces out of non-plum tomatoes in many ways:
1--fresh--just dice and seed the tomatoes, add olive oil, garlic and basil (salt and pepper), let marinate while you boil water and cook the pasta, and combine, sometimes with added mozzarella or ricota salata
2- regular cooked sauce--i've done it skinned and seeded vs. whole and to my palate, as long as you cook it down to the right consistency it has always been wonderful. In fact, one of my big surprises came when I cooked down part of the abundance of my non-paste, many varieties of heirloom tomatoes and was amazed that I didn't even have to add salt to make it tasty.
3- vinaigarette-style sauce. I started making this after I saw some recipe for a tomato vinaigrette that blended tomatoes and herbs added some olive oil and vinegar to taste and salt pepper red pepper flakes or garlic if desired. It's a great salad dressing and emulsifies well, especially if you add garlic or onion, but I also find it a delicious pasta/pasta sallad sauce and a good way to store an abundance of tomatoes.
Marcella Hazan has three fabulous tomato sauce recipes that I always use when I have fresh tomatoes. Two of these recipes only lightly cook the tomatoes and taste sooooo good. My kids are always thrilled when it's tomato season and I pull out The Classic Italian Cook Book - and they're teens!
Roasted is great -- slice in 1/2 horizontally, put on baking pan (cut side up) w/ Olive oil, S&P, an onion cut into quarters (leaving root end intact to hold together), and a few cloves of garlic. Roast at 350-400 deg for 30+ minutes until wilted, pass through food mill to remove skins of all. Yum!