Well, it’s no secret that my tomato plants didn’t exactly provide the glut I was hoping for this summer. A couple of dry days and a bout of blight caused an early demise. Thankfully, though, we’ve been able to get our hands on a good number of freshies courtesy of some friends who let us raid their garden while they were away. I’ve wanted to try marinara sauce for a while, and I finally had an excuse to. Can’t let those maters go to waste! After doing a little searching around, I found this recipe and riffed from there. I started by washing and lining up all the tomatoes:
Aren’t they purdy? The first step was to blanche them and remove the skins. I had never done this before, and I was kind of daunted by trying it. Luckily, it’s easier than the fancy French word makes it sound. I plopped about half of them in a pot of boiling water
And after 45 seconds, transferred them to a bowl of ice water.
While those were cooling, I boiled the other half. After they were all blanched, we removed the skins (gratefully, a very easy process) and were left with this pile of red tomato meatballs (don’t they look like meatballs??).
Beforehand, Mike had cut up 1.5 yellow onions and a bulb of garlic:
And while we were chunking the tomatoes, I let the onions simmer in a few tablespoons of onion:
Here are the chunked tomatoes with hulls removed:
When everything was cut, I threw in the tomatoes, garlic and a few bay leaves and brought it to simmer, cover on, for about 30 minutes.
After the 30, I added about 4 large sprigs of basil, chopped up,
a tablespoon of oregano,
two tablespoons of sugar,
and salt and pepper to taste. This got the coverless simmer treatment for about 2.5 more hours with lots of stirring every time Mike or I walked past the pot, probably about every 10-15 minutes. Removing the cover let a lot of water boil off and left us with a nice, thick sauce. Next, I added two teaspoons of balsamic vinegar
and a dash of red pepper flakes. Finally, we enjoyed the sweet taste of summer while watching Breaking Bad. (Good god, is that show good. We’re in season 2, so no spoilers, please!)
If only I had enough tomatoes to make 18 gallons of that sauce. It’s so good, I want to take a bath in it. Mmmhmmm.
P.S. Here’s a quick view of the recipe:
Fresh Tomato Marinara Sauce
- 5 lbs of tomatoes
- 3 tablespoons of olive oil
- 1.5 onions, minced
- 1 bulb of garlic, minced
-3 bay leaves
- 4 sprigs of fresh basil, chopped
- 1 teaspoon of oregano
- 2 teaspoons of sugar
-2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
-salt and pepper to taste
1. Blanche tomatoes by dunking in boiling water for 45 seconds followed by an ice bath. Remove skins and hulls and quarter each tomato.
2. While peeling/cutting tomatoes, let onions simmer in olive oil in the stock pot.
3. Add tomatoes, garlic and bay leaves to pot and bring to simmer. Cover pot and leave for 30 minutes.
4. Add basil, oregano, sugar, salt and pepper. Leave uncovered and simmer about 2.5 hours, stirring regularly.
5. Add balsamic vinegar. Enjoy!
Of course, everything is dependent on your tomato varieties, if they seem watery, allow the sauce to simmer longer to boil off more water, if they’re pasty, don’t cook as long. Also, sugar and salt may need to be adjusted to your tomatoes/tastes. As they say on American Idol, ‘Make it your own!’