My first attempt at making homemade tomato sauce, to say the least, was a disaster. When you’ve been slaving all day in the kitchen and at first smell your husband asks, “Why does the tomato sauce smell like chicken stew?” You know you have a problem. My first mistake was I used a tomato sauce recipe from a culinary book that was ridiculously complicated. Two more mistakes – 1) I didn’t de-skin (blanch) the tomatoes 2) The recipe called for chicken stock, and I don’t make good chicken stock (not yet at least). On top of that, it was the same night as the infamous “Pasta without a Pasta Machine” debacle. My husband has since requested that I learn only one new technique per dinner service. Ha! I don’t blame him.
Second time around was a world of difference – astonishing, a spiritual experience. I purchased pasta from the grocery store and decided to focus only on making an amazing tomato sauce. To come up with my recipe I perused a number of You Tube videos and read a less complicated culinary recipe. I decided to tackle the tomato sauce with these few ingredients and techniques:
6 Tomatoes (I would use more tomatoes next time)
1 large slice of White Onion (diced)
1 carrot (peeled and diced)
2 Cloves Fresh Garlic (pressed or mashed)
2-3 TBS Olive Oil
1-2 TBS Butter (unsalted)
3 Leaves of Fresh Basil
Salt, Pepper & Dried Oregano to taste
The first thing I did was blanch the tomatoes. When you blanch a tomato, you cut a small slit in side of the raw tomato, drop it in boiling water for a minute (till the skin starts to peel), then you drop the tomato in icy cold water and the skin should peel right off. See image below. After blanching I then cored and partially de-seeded the tomatoes and set them aside.
My next step was to cook everything in my fry pan. I heated the oil and butter, then sautéed the white onion and carrot until the onion was translucent. During the sauté process I pressed two cloves of garlic into the onion and carrot mixture. I sautéed for 3-4 minutes.
I then added the tomatoes into the pan and broke them up. After the tomatoes were added, I sliced up the Basil and tossed that into the tomato mixture. I seasoned with a dash of salt, pepper and dried oregano. Isn’t it beautiful?!?
And then I waited, and waited and waited. I simmered on medium-low for 40 or so minutes without the lid on the fry pan. The goal now is to reduce the water content so it becomes sauce-like. Once the sauce was to my desired consistency, I put a lid on it and made the noodles.
I served the fresh tomato sauce on top of spaghetti noodles with fresh grated parmesan.
I have to say, this is probably the best tomato sauce I’ve ever had. It was fresh, simple and reminded me of tomato sauce from Italy. I should have doubled the recipe because my husband and I were dying for more after we finished our plates. Delish!