Food Friday : Homemade Tomato Sauce and a Recipe Using It

Hello and welcome to my weekly food related post! Today I thought I’d show you the homemade tomato sauce that Nick makes regularly and also how he turned some of it into a delectable sauce for pasta.

We eat a lot of tomato sauce in this house, so some time ago Nick began making it from scratch, in large batches that we divide up and freeze. Part of our reason for doing so is our attempt to use fewer canned goods and more fresh produce. But another reason was that we have been finding numerous sources for fresh tomatoes being sold at rock-bottom prices because they are more ripe than the average consumer would purchase. We easily find trays the size of those pictured put out for quick sale at $.99 a tray. Comparatively, a can of tomatoes costs about $1.50 per can. We can get the equivalent of several cans worth for 2 dollars worth of fresh tomatoes. So this notion of making our own sauce satisfies both our thrifty and healthy eating desires. Of course, if you have an abundance of fresh tomatoes from your garden, all the better!

The sauce is simple to make, and since we freeze it, no sterilizing jars and worrying about proper canning techniques are required. We make the sauce about once a month and then use it in pasta dishes, for pizza sauce and in chili, throughout the month. Having it partially seasoned with onions, garlic and peppers allows for really quick meal preparation when we’re in a hurry too.

First I will show you the steps involved in making the sauce. Then I’ll get to the good part … directions for how to turn this sauce into “Chevre and Olive Pasta Sauce”, which is to die for!

To make homemade tomato sauce: Chop a whole lot of fresh tomatoes — don’t worry about pealing them, unless you really want to. If you do want to peel them, cut a shallow slit in each one and then drop into boiling water for about 30 seconds. Run under cold water and the peels should comr right off — some onion, peppers and garlic, quantities dependent on your personal preference.

Sauté the onion, peppers and garlic in olive oil. Then add chopped tomatoes and their juices. Add a bit of salt (around 1 teaspoon).

Cook at a low simmer for at least an hour, until your sauce has reached your desired thickness. Taste and add more salt if desired. Stir in a bit at a time and keep tasting, so you don’t end up over-salting. You want it to remain slightly sweet because you can always add more salt or salty ingredients when you prepare your final dish.

We cook ours until it is reduced by a third in volume. It is still pretty liquidy, but will thicken when it cools. Also, when a thicker, more dry, sauce to make pizza is needed, we further reduce it.

If you prefer a smoother sauce you can use an immersion blender, food processor or blender at this point.

Let your sauce cool completely and divide into serving sizes containers, 1 to 2 cups per. Freeze and then pull it out when you need it. Note that there is some seasoning in the sauce but when you use it you will add more based on what you’re making with it.

Now we’ll move to turning this plain sauce into a delicious topping for pasta …

Chevre and Kalamata Olive Pasta Sauce
Vegetarian. Serves 4 – 6. Takes as long as it takes to cook noodles

– 1 tablespoon olive oil
– around 8 mushrooms (the version pictured also included a bit of fresh tomato we had on hand, but that is optional)
– 2 cups tomato sauce (home made or canned)
– 1/2 a package of chevre cheese
– 12 – 15 pitted kalamata olives. (They’re easy to pit by cutting a slit into them and then pressing them flat with the side of your knife. The pit will come right out.)
– 1/2 cup red wine
– salt to taste
– For Topping: minced fresh herbs like basil, oregano, parley, Parmesan cheese shavings and freshly ground pepper.

I will let the pictures do the talking with regards to how to make it, but if you have any questions please don’t hesitate to ask in the comments or send me an e-mail.

Thank you for reading. I’d love to hear if you try this recipe!

xo loulou