Tomato Sauce

Making tomato sauce is super simple.

Ingredients include: Tomatoes, garlic, peppers (sweet banana are best), onion, salt, white sugar, pepper, oregano, basil and a slash of olive oil.   Also, tomato paste is optional for thickening and flavor.  Other optional ingredients include Louisiana hot sauce and/or anchovy paste.  I find that these two add some seriously great depth of flavor but be careful and add with caution.

I simply quarter tomatoes and cook them in a large pot until soft.  I never peel the tomatoes!  God put the skin on the tomato for a reason and it should never be removed. Sometimes we broil/roast the tomatoes and peppers with olive oil, salt and pepper before turning them into sauce.  Also a great option for an intense, complex flavor but it takes a lot more time.  After tomatoes are cooking in the pot, add peppers and onion so they can cook down.  Quantities of peppers and onions are “to taste” but be careful with too many peppers as they can be a bit bitter sometimes and may ruin the sauce.  Always taste the raw peppers before adding them to your sauce!!!

The rest of the ingredients go in to taste.  There is no set amount of any of the ingredients.  My rule of thumb is to be liberal with the herbs and veggies (see note above about peppers) and to add salt, pepper very conservatively.  I’ve tried to put too much garlic in my sauce but it seems I can never get enough.  The salt is easy to add later but it’s a lot of work to take it back out!  I usually add a small amount of sugar just to balance any bitterness from the peppers.   Be creative and experiment until you find a combination that works for you.  I leave out other ingredients like eggplant or mushrooms and add them if the dinner plans include them.  I like to make a base sauce that can be used for everything from pizzas to lasagna and anything in between.

While still in the pot and after the tomatoes, peppers and onions are soft, I use a hand blender to puree the sauce.  You can adjust the amount of blending to create a more chunky sauce.  Since I leave the skins on, I like to blend more to create a smoother sauce.

If using Louisiana hot sauce or anchovy paste, I’d add them here.

I then cook the sauce for an hour or so with the lid off to remove excess water and to gain the thickness I’d like.  Adding a can of tomato paste to a gallon of sauce usually helps to tighten up the sauce.  I let the pot cool overnight on the front porch under the ceiling fan and freeze it in the morning.

We have not eaten store bought tomato sauce in 15 years as we freeze about 5 gallons each summer.  It’s easy and fun.  You control the sodium and you don’t have a bunch of chemicals you can’t pronounce the names of in your sauce.  I’ve never tasted a sauce in the store that compares with this simple sauce made at home.

Go for it!

I dropped in a photo of a delicious meatball pizza we made recently with our homemade sauce.  This pizza would make Epicurus drool!


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