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Oct 28, 2011 11:17 AM

homemade tomato sauce - what do YOU do?

I make it different all the time - I have a large pot on the stovetop now - started with tons of onions and garlic in olive oil/canola mix - then added two large (6lbs) cans of marzano plum tomatoes. I have used my knife in the pot, cutting the tomatoes open. Oh, and I have already added salt and pepper. I will add, later on, a good dose of dried parsley , basil, oregano. (I know - dried is not usually an acceptable word) And I usually will add, depending on the flavor and consistency, a small can, or in this case two, of tomato paste.

Do you blend yours after this? I usually don't. Wondering how many do. I am using this sauce for hopefully many containers for the freezer, after taking what I will need off for a lasagna and sauce for the meat/turkey layer of the lasagna.

I am also wondering how long you cook this?

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  1. The only sauce I make in large quantities is Bugialli's Bolognese since it is a lot of work, but little extra work to make twice as much. The whole cooking process is a couple of hours. For everyday tomato sauce, since there are just two of us I make it regularly and that's enough. Start with a can of good tomatoes, I like Trader Joe's whole plum tomatoes, olive oil and garlic. Sometimes I just hand crush the tomatoes (removing stem area), other times I put them through the food mill. Cooking is simple. Slice a couple large cloves of garlic very thin (I use a garlic slicer/mandolin) and saute until golden in saute pan with a glug of olive oil. Immediately add tomatoes--look out for spitting--and bring to boil. Add s&p and let reduce for a bit, putting lid on once it's thickened. From there anything goes as far as other ingredients. As is, it's right for eggplant parmesan (I'm making that tonight with eggplant broiled not fried), pizza sauce or sauce for meatless lasagna or tossed with spaghetti, fresh basil and olive oil with a cloud of Parmigiano Reggiano.

    2 Replies
    1. re: escondido123

      so - you use the food mill before cooking - I am thinking this time - I WILL use the food mill, don't always, because there is an abundance of tomatoes breaking down in that pot.

      1. re: smilingal

        My husband likes to mill them, I like them chunky so we trade off. I also just tried skinning tomatoes by holding them over the gas flame with tongs and then rotating it once to get the other two sides. Only had to do 3 of them so it was much quicker than blanching them.

    2. I have blended tomatoes in a sauce before for a specific effect, but 9 times out of 10 i just give them a rough chop before cooking (if I'm using fresh tomatoes), and then thoroughly crush them in the pot (whether I'm using fresh or canned) using a potato masher. Thickens the sauce well but leaves a nice rustic chunkiness to it. Obviously, if you go this route, you have to make sure you sweat the onions until they're soft before adding the other ingredients for the sauce.

      Food mill is a fine option for a more evenly textured sauce if you want.

      1. I decided to leave them in their natural well-broken down state. Today I realized the difference the canned tomato makes - I used one can of DOP marzano and the other a plum tomato from marzano area - using these two quality cans gave a thicker and non-acidic sauce - avoiding the addition of tomato paste and sugar. Quite tasty - if I do say so myself!

        1. I personally am not a big fan of "chunky" style red pasta sauces, so I divide mine into "sunday gravy' style and "marinara" style.

          Sunday gravy I use tomato paste, garlic, tomato sauce or tomato puree, a half onion that is removed when cooking is done, various spices, red wine, a few other things and then browned meatballs, sausage and pork ribs or pork chops.

          For marina (which for me means fresher tasting and shorter cook time), I usually use a whole can of san marzanos and zip them down in the food processor or blender until just lightly chunky, olive oil, pinch of tomato paste, anchovies, red wine, spices and grated onion plus other things at hand. I usually add ground and fried crumbled italian sausage and some black olives which is why i mill/puree prior to cooking otherwise everything would become a big smoothie. LOL. I use boxed or can pureed if I want easy and smooth,

          Short cook time marinara usually means adding fresh basil and maybe capers and usually no meat but sauteed mushrooms and onions instead.

          About once a month I pick up a new jarred or canned pasta sauce to try, and I keep going back to making it myself due to taste and I can add what I want when I want to. By the time I get jarred sauce to my liking it takes just as long as DIY but is twice the cost. Win-win.

          1. I often blend, but my mom would probably say "that's why they invented food mills".