I’ve been on a real mission this week to get some food prep done in advance. We’ve got a busy fall ahead of us and I like to do whatever I can to have meals ready for it.
When Garrett came home from his parents’ house last week with a bag full of tomatoes – fresh homemade tomato sauce immediately sprang to mind.
I also picked up a basket of roma tomatoes from the farmers market on the weekend. Between the two of them, I had about 5 lbs of tomatoes. I used an onion from my friends’ garden, organic carrots from the market and celery from my mom to round out the sauce. I love using up all this fresh produce while we have it!
It was enough to fill 2 large mason jars and make spaghetti bolognese for Sunday night dinner. The whole batch worked out to about 6 dinners for the two of us. All I need to do is make our favourite spaghetti squash noodles and add in a protein!
What you’ll need:
- 5 lbs tomatoes (I used a mixture of regular, cherry and roma tomatoes)
- 1 small onion, diced
- 2 medium carrots, chopped
- 3 stalks celery, chopped
- 6 cloves garlic
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp dried basil (or fresh if you have some!)
- 1 tbsp Italian seasoning
- salt and pepper to taste
Poaching the tomatoes in boiling water is a great way to remove the skins easily.
Slice an “x” in the bottom of each tomato. This will help with peeling the skin off.
Dunk the tomatoes in batches into a large pot of boiling water.
Remove with a slotted spoon after one minute.
Place them in an ice water bath.
The skins will peel off by hand easily.
Despite removing their skins, the tomatoes will still retain most of their colour.
Chop the tomatoes into quarters and remove any stems.
In a fine mesh sieve over a large bowl, squeeze the juices and seeds out of the tomatoes. I find that you can push the seeds out of the membranes of the tomatoes pretty easily without mashing up the flesh. Use the back of a spoon to press all the liquid through the sieve. Discard the seeds and reserve the tomato juice.
Coarsely chop the remaining tomato pieces. Alternatively, you can mash them with a potato masher later on when they are completely cooked.
To give this sauce some real flavour, we’ll make a mire-poix, which is a mixture of equal parts chopped onion, celery and carrots. Often used in French cooking, it makes a great base for most stews, sauces and soups.
You can chop it up finely, or you can toss it all into a food processor, along with the garlic.
Give it a few whirls until it forms a very finely chopped mixture. Add it into a large saucepan with olive oil and saute over medium heat for 10 minutes or until everything is soft.
Add the tomatoes, basil and Italian seasonings. I usually add a little salt in now to pull out some of the moisture and then season it more to taste at the end.
Pour about 1/2 cup of the reserved tomato juice into the pot and stir. Simmer the sauce for 45-60 minutes.
If your sauce is thicker than you’d like, add in more of the tomato juice. If you would like it smoother, you can use an immersion blender or potato masher. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
To freeze the sauce, I poured it into mason jars and left room at the top for the liquid to expand. Place in the freezer without the lids on and let it completely freeze (at least 2 hours), then put the lids on. This will prevent it from expanding and bursting the jars.