Thursday, February 14, 2013

Marinara Sauce

 I have to thank this past week's Bountiful Basket for the impetus of this post. Last week, I had the option of getting a 25# case of Roma tomatoes. I love homemade spaghetti sauce, so I naturally jumped at this. They also had an "Italian Pack" that included onion, garlic, eggplant, oregano, and basil. So today, I sent my little lovelies off to school, an I started my sauce! Here's what I started with

A big beautiful case of Romas. So the first step is to set up your work station. Believe it or not, the peeling step is going to go really quickly. Here's what my setup looks like
I have a pot of boiling water about half full, a very large bowl of ice water, a bowl to hold the peels and two empty bowls to hold the peeled tomatoes. First you need to remove the core of the tomato, where the stem connects. I use a melon baller to do this
Then, flip over the tomato and cut a shallow "X" in the other end. This will help the peels come off easier.
Once you have this done to all your tomatoes, gently place about 10-12 tomatoes into the boiling water. Don't walk away, because you'll only want to leave them in there for about 30 seconds, or until they look like this
 Then just scoop them out with a slotted spoon or a pasta spoon, like I did and drop them into the ice bath. Let them sit there for a minute or two, and then just peel the skins off. It's so easy! Here's what they'll look like once they're peeled
Repeat this until all your tomatoes are peeled. Then, slice them in half and use your finger to scoop the seeds into your garbage bowl. Understand you'll never get every seed, but try to get as much as you can, because they'll make your sauce bitter. Next, chop an onion (I used 2 large onions for 25# of tomatoes) and garlic and saute them in oil in the pot you're going to cook your sauce in. Once they're translucent, add in all the tomatoes at once. Turn the heat to low, and let this cook for several hours. I usually aim for 6-8 hours, to let the moisture cook off and to develop the flavor more deeply. Once they're cooked down by 1/4 to 1/2, remove it from the heat, and either mash it gently with a potato masher, or use an immersion blender. I use an immersion blender, only because my youngest won't touch spaghetti sauce that has a chunk of tomato in to, and the oldest won't eat it if he sees an onion. Here's what my sauce looks like before it's pureed.
And it smells heavenly too! If you like your sauce like this, now's the time to season it to your taste. I use fresh herbs, so they go in now, oregano and basil. But if you use dry herbs, they can go into the pot as soon as you add your tomatoes. Don't forget salt and pepper. I also usually add a 1/2 to 1 cup of red wine to my sauce as well, early in the cooking. I like the nice complex flavor it adds, and all the alcohol cooks out during the long simmering process. I find using Romas I don't need to add sugar, but if you're sauce is just too tart, by all means add some sugar! Here's one last picture of my finished sauce with the immersion blender still sitting in the pot, lol!
So I hope everyone can start making their own sauce! It's so simple! The taste is fresher than you can even imagine! As always, if you have any questions, please leave a message and I'll get back to you!


No comments:

Post a Comment