Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Tomato Sauce From Scratch

We've got a bumper crop of tomatoes this year (also a bumper crop of courgettes - more on that later) so I decided it was time to bite the bullet and try making some tomato sauce from scratch.

It was surprisingly easy! I had found a recipe from somewhere, although as usual I couldn't tell you where that was, and it only involved five ingredients. I'm a big fan of recipes where I can count the ingredients with one hand.

These were not the actual vegetables used, but a representative sample
The first step was peeling the tomatoes - about 800g of them with the skin still on. I did this by cutting a cross in the base of each tomato, submerging it in boiling water for fifteen seconds using a slatted spoon, and then removing the tomato and putting it into a bowl of cold water until I was ready to peel. This loosens the skin and the cold water stops the tomato from continuing to cook.

Peeling was remarkably easy, especially with the cross cut in the bottom. I also had to cut out the parts of the tomato that had split and gone bad due to erratic weather, and this was easy as well since the blanching had loosened them from the flesh.

Tomatoes peeled and roughly chopped, I moved onto dicing a small onion (also from the garden) and two cloves of garlic (ditto), which I fried in olive oil. Then I added the tomatoes and left them to simmer.

The recipe confidently told me to leave the mixture simmering on a low heat for five minutes. Well, I had doubted that to start with and I was proven right - it took more like 45 minutes before I felt I had anything approaching a sauce, rather than some bits of tomato and bits of onion floating around in some hot tomato juice.

Once it looked reasonably appetising I upended the remains of a bag of vegetarian mince into the mixture and cooked that for a while. I added a couple of chopped mushrooms and some seasoning, and as a final touch stirred in about 50g of strong blue cheese. Delicious! I had it with slightly undercooked rice (forgot to start cooking it until the bolognese was almost ready). There's still a good amount left over, which I will either eat for lunch tomorrow or freeze and take with me to university - I'm leaving on Friday!

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