Fresh Tomato Mother Sauce; Easy, Healthy & Fun!
My favorite mother sauce will always be fresh tomato sauce. Seriously, I purposefully call ahead to my local produce supplier to buy their ugly tomatoes regularly. They have started calling me to help use as many of the products as possible.
This process was something I learned from my Grumpy (AKA my Grandfather), as my childhood job responsibilities moved from gardening to the kitchen. Being a very Italian family, every summer, when the tomatoes started to come in, we were all rooped into picking, cleaning, cutting, and eventually jarring. As a child, it was not my favorite thing to do, but as an adult, I can no longer go back to using canned tomatoes unless under duress…LOL
I make, freeze, and jar this red base sauce regularly. There is nothing like being able to pull out a small bag of this heavenly delight to add to a dish or embellish it for a quick meal. However you choose to use it, let me know!
20 Tomatoes, ugly, old, or new (or more depending on how much time you have and how much sauce you want)
1 Large Bulb of Garlic
1 Medium Onion
4 Cups of Stock
2 Large Handfuls of Fresh Basil
1 Handful of Fresh Oregano
Salt & Pepper
Ground Fennel (optional)
Start by pre-pairing your kitchen to remove the skin & seeds of the tomatoes.
-Keep a large pot of water boiling to blanch the tomatoes
-Have your trash barrel very available
-A large bowl of Ice Water
-Cutting Board & Sharp Chef’s Knife. I often place a towel under the cutting board to help with the juicy tomatoes running all over my countertops.
-Have a large bowl near the cutting board to put all of the chopped tomatoes into.
To Start The Process!
Clean all of the tomatoes, and cut off any unwanted blemishes. When clean, score the bottom or side of the tomatoes. (To Score the tomato, cut a 1-2” x cut on the fruit. This way, when you blanch the tomato, the skin will easily peel off)
Drop a few tomatoes into the pot of boiling water. If you are using larger tomatoes, use your spoon to push them around so the floating top gets dunked a few times. Then ladle the tomatoes out into the bowl of ice water. When you can pick up the tomatoes and not burn your hands, over your trash barrel, peel off the skin, and use your fingers to remove as many of the seeds from the inside of the tomato. When done, place the tomato on your cutting board and chop them up as small or large as you would like. Collect all of the chopped tomatoes in your storage bowl.
When all the tomatoes are done, it is time to make the sauce!
-Start by putting your pot on medium-high heat and covering the bottom with a healthy amount of olive oil.
-Chop the onion up and soften them in the hot olive oil.
-Mince up all of the garlic. Add garlic to the hot oil when the onion is lightly fried/soft. We do not want the garlic to brown. The garlic needs a minute or less in the oil while you stir the combination to cover the bottom of the pot evenly.
-When the garlic is done, immediately add the tomatoes and the stock. Stirring the sauce asap to ensure that nothing on the bottom of the pot is burning. Bring this combination to a rolling boil.
-As the sauce starts to boil, turn the heat to a light boil and allow the sauce to cook down at least one inch from where you started. If you like a thicker base, keep letting the sauce cook down and occasionally string to ensure nothing is burning on the bottom.
-Towards the end of the cooking down process, take the basil & oregano, wash them, and start to place all of the leaves (and if you are me with basil, the soft top parts of the steam) into a blender. Next, I ladle some of the tomato sauce into the blender and use that base to liquefy the herbs. Finally, I Imeadetly pour this mixture into the sauce pot, which is at a light boil.
-Season the sauce with Salt, Pepper, Fennel (Optional), and Cayenne Pepper to your taste. If you are serving this right now, use more seasoning. If you are making this for later, season it less.
-When I feel that the sauce has reached its final cooking, I remove the pot from the heat (somewhere else on the stovetop) and place the top on the pot. I will leave the pot out and not string the sauce until it is cool enough to put in the refrigerator. In my house, the pot sits on the stove overnight, and in the AM, it goes in the refrigerator until it is cold. From there, I package it up and freeze it for future use.