Gravy? Tomato Sauce? Red Sauce? Whichever way you slice it, it all equals tomatoes that you simmer for a few hours with various spices, sometimes with meat, sometimes for fish, and sometimes for simply pasta. In my house, we use them all interchangeably. A good red sauce is just that. A good red sauce. I tried to do my grandma proud today by spending my Monday off making sauce from scratch. I’ve been making sauce since I was in diapers (maybe a little older), but only from the can. (Tuttorosso is my favorite, my grandma preferred Red Pack- we all have our preferences). Today I decided to challenge myself. Here’s the recipe! My house smelled delicious all day.
-Because it was my first time making tomato sauce, I used a very little amount of tomatoes and came out with a very little amount of sauce. My parents would suggest using at least 20 tomatoes- I’ll give you the recipe for 10 (which is what I used)-
-10 Whole Tomatoes (I used five Plum and five Tomatoes on the Vine. Heirloom would probably taste amazing)
-1/2 Large Yellow Onion
-5 Cloves of Garlic, chopped
What You Do
Prepare your Workstation!
-Fill a large sauce pan with water to boil and fill a large bowl with ice and water and set next to the stove. You’ll have to blanche the tomatoes.
(Blanching is when you remove a vegetable from boiling water and shock it in an ice bath- this helps maintain the color of the vegetable you are using)
-Place a cutting board right next to the Ice Bath, use your sharpest knife (be careful not to cut yourself like I did)
-Prepare the onion and garlic- Cut the onion at the top and the bottom, remove the skin. Then dice the onion. You can either roughly chop the garlic or dice it. I prefer to roughly chop it because I love whole garlic. Put them aside in separate bowls.
-Boil the tomatoes a few at a time, when they look a little shriveled up and deep lines appear in the skin, remove them with a slotted spoon and put into the ice bath for at least 5 minutes. Continue this process until the tomatoes are all blanched.
-To seed, take half of your tomato and grip gently. Hold it over the strainer and bowl apparatus that you’ve made and scoop the seeds out gently one side at a time. Continue until all of the tomatoes are seedless!
-Dice your tomato halves, scoop half of the diced tomatoes into a blender and lightly blend. Set the other half aside.
-On the stove using the same sauce pot, ditch the water and add Olive Oil to just coat the bottom of the pan. Bring to a medium heat.
-Add the onions and simmer for 3-5 minutes, or until you smell that sweet onion scent. Add the basil and parsley, then add the garlic.
(We always add garlic second because it burns much easier than onions)
-Add the juice from the strained tomato seeds, the puree, and the diced tomatoes to the sauce and stir. Bring to a boil, then set to simmer. Add salt and pepper to taste!
– You’ll notice that the sauce is very watery. Loose sauce for fish is preferred, but if you’re looking for that thick sauce, you can simmer it for 1-2 hours on low, or, if you’re in a rush, add flour (like a roux) slowly stirring. You should see it thicken right up!
A good Italian never rushes their sauces. I started this at 10 am. It is now 1:30 and I am sitting here writing this post, waiting for my sauce to simmer. I’m going to add shrimp and some vegetables to it! I bought some whole wheat pasta because I am much too lazy to go the whole nine today and make homemade pasta- although I can write a blog post on that in the future!
Making sauce is fairly easy, yet a little bit time consuming. You can always make it your own and add pepper or meat for a bolognese. If you’re looking for that hearty “Sunday Sauce” with braciole and meatballs, I recommend simmering the meatballs and braciole before you add the sauce in the same pot- you’ll get that amazing fatty flavor.
Hope you learned a few things and hope your sauce comes out as good as mine did!