Saturday, September 25, 2010

Fresh Tomato Sauce That Doesn't Smell Like Chicken

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!

5 comments:

  1. I love your site! It looks so professional. And I can tell you are doing some great things with food styling. very impressive :)

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  2. This sounds delicious! Simple seems to always work best. Can't wait to try this! Your site looks great!!

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  3. My first tomato sauce was actually Martha Stewart's recipe which has star anise and so many different ingredients that I was so fascinated I made it right away. I didn't dislike it. Infact I almost liked it but I thought it was too complex a flavor. Then I just went wid my heart use the same recipe as above minus the carrots and I add basil towards the end. And I'm in love with myself ever since :). I'm loving it here! Thanks for the follow on twitter.

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  4. This sauce sounds/looks great. I've never made a stock based tomato sauce before, I always just make ginormous amounts of roasted tomato sauce (SO good!) and freeze it. Works like a charm every time! Would love to try your method some time though!

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  5. I know you are a "self trained chef" but we had to learn to make classic tomato sauce by heart in culinary school. It was stressful to say the least. I couldn't look tomato sauce for about a year.
    I love using heirloom tomatoes (I got over the sauce overload now that I'm a few years out of culinary school).

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