Monday, October 18, 2010

The Best Tomato Sauce You'll Ever Make

And yes, I can back that up.
This is tomato sauce that you end up eating straight out of the pot, with big chunks of bread, and only ever end up with about half as much as you thought you would.  
You can use canned tomato puree and it's still pretty darn fantastic.  But if you have a Roma tomato plant (or know someone who does) you know how prolific they can be, and this is hands down the best use for them.  
You're going to want enough tomatoes to equal 8 cups of tomato puree.  All you do is cut off the stems, make an x mark on the bottom, and bring a large pot of water to a boil and dunk them in until the skin loosens (about 2 minutes).  Remove them with tongs and place in a large colander in your sink and run under cold water for a minute, then carefully remove the skins.  Then toss them in a food processor and puree in batches until smooth (I only ever pulse mine since I like my sauce chunky).  At this point you can pass the puree through cheesecloth or a sieve to remove the seeds, but I never do.
In a large stock pot or Dutch oven, heat 4 Tb good quality olive oil over medium heat.  Add 1 medium diced onion and 4 cloves minced garlic.  Saute until onion is translucent.  Add tomato puree, 1/4 c tomato paste, 3 c beef broth (I have tried vegetable broth - I'm sorry, it just doesn't taste as good), 1/4 c good red wine, 1/4 c fresh grated Parmesan cheese, 1/4 c sugar, 2 bay leaves, and then fresh parsley, basil, thyme, ground pepper, and sea salt to taste.  Of course I always go crazy on the herbs and I think the sauce is the better for it.  Stir it all together and simmer it on low for 3 hours, stirring occasionally.  When the sauce is finished remove the bay leaves and can what you will not use immediately, or place it in ziploc freezer bags and lay it flat in the freezer.  To defrost just lay the bag in your sink and fill the sink with warm water.  The Mister adores this for baked ziti and manicotti, and Butterbean eats it like soup.

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