Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Tomato Sauce

It's finally the middle of tomato season here in Sacramento. There are so many ripe tomatoes that I can't keep them picked down! So, I've been busy making tomato sauce. This recipe reminds my husband of the Italian-style sauce he ate when he was growing up outside of Philadelphia. We've had it over pasta and ravioli, and it's been delicious! Feel free to tweak the recipe so that it reminds you of something or somewhere special.


4 cups tomatoes, see directions
1 Tbs olive oil
1/3 cup chopped onion
1/3 cup chopped celery
1/4 cup chopped carrot
2 tsp minced garlic
1/2 cup red wine
1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh parsley
2 tsp dried marjoram
1 bay leaf
1 Tbs sugar
1 tsp salt, to taste
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes, optional


How you prepare the tomatoes depends on the type of tomatoes used. The easiest to prepare are the little grape or Roma tomatoes. These can be placed in a saucepan, and covered with water. Bring the water to a boil, and simmer for one minute. The skins will begin to blister and crack. Carefully remove the tomatoes from the water, then run them through a food mill. This easily removes the skins and most of the seeds. If you're using larger tomatoes, it's helpful to pierce the tomatoes or cut them in half before you put them in the food mill. You'll get several cups of prepared tomato sauce.

While the tomatoes are heating in the water, cut the remaining vegetables. Heat the olive oil in a heavy bottomed pan. Add the onions and cook for about 5 minutes, until the onions become translucent. Add the celery and carrot and cook for an additional minute or two. Add the garlic and cook for an additional minute. Pour in the wine and bring to a boil. Simmer gently, then add the parsley, marjoram, and bay leaf. Add the tomato sauce, reduce the heat to low, and cook for up to one hour. Stir the sauce from time to time, so that it doesn't scorch on the bottom. If the sauce gets too thick, add a little water. Correct the seasoning with the sugar and salt, tasting as you go, and the red pepper flakes (if you're using them). Enjoy!

Stealthy Cooking Tip: Cooking tomatoes makes lycopene , one of the nutrients in tomatoes, easier for the body to access. Using fresh, ripe tomatoes makes this sauce not only nutritious, but delicious! Make lots so you have some for leftovers, the taste only gets better with time.

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