Who Knows the Greatest Tomato Sauce Recipe?
This summer in the northeast was not as warm as previous summers. Consequently, my tomato plants that love heat did not thrive until late summer. All the sudden out of nowhere, my tomato plants went from lanky awkward teenagers to big strong adults capable of bearing a ton of fruit. So what happened next? Did I have a late summer of leisure to pick tomatoes as they ripened? You guessed it. These crazy looking tomatoes decided to ripen all at the same time.
This is my first year of growing a large vegetable garden. I spent the entire summer trying to figure out what I was doing wrong with bugs, seedlings failing to thrive, and not knowing what my plants were supposed to look like. I did not have time to catch my breath or to stop to think what was I going to do with all the food I grew?
Well my tomato reckoning day came, and here I was the proud mama of a ton of funny looking tomatoes. I grew heirloom Cherokee purple tomatoes as well as an heirloom tomato that looks like a pumpkin, beefsteak tomatoes and large cherry tomatoes.
What was I going to do with all these tomatoes? Tomato sauce! How hard can that be? I have tried to make it before with store bought tomatoes but it came out tinny tasting. This time would be different. I had tomatoes that were destined for tomatoes sauce– not those “not so meaty” tomatoes from the store. Time was of the essence since my tomatoes were a little too ripe.
Off I dashed to my friend, Google, to look for the 5 stars ultimate tomato sauce recipe to show off my prized tomatoes. How else was I going to flaunt “look what I made…”
Believe it or not, I could not find one I like and settled on a roasted tomatoes recipe from Epicurean.com and Too Many Chefs. In my haste I did not bother to read most of the directions and winged it. Isn’t that what most great chef do I reasoned? This is basically my recipe. A word of caution. This recipe might make you gasp or say “oh my” while reading the recipe from all you amazing cooks. You will have your chances at the end.
1. 15 lbs of tomatoes cut up (yes that many). I did not take out the seeds or take off the skin. I figured my family would not know the difference and I did not have the time.
2. Roast the tomatoes at 400 degrees for 45 minutes. (Forgot to drizzle olive oil on them as well as to include the onions and basil while roasting the tomatoes. Off to a really good start, don’t you think?)
3. Realize that I did not follow the directions, and needed to roast onion and garlic! Drizzled olive oil on 4 garlic heads (should have roasted 5 but only bought 4.) Then I wrapped them in tin foil and cut up about 5 large onion as well as tomatoes I forgot in the drawer. Roasted everything at 425 degrees this time for 45 minutes. (Still, I forgot the basil.)
4. Did not hear the timer when it went off and the onions got a little burnt. (This is starting to sound like an “I love Lucy” show.)
5. A few days later, threw the tomatoes and onions in a pot to simmer down the liquid. Took my handy blending tool and grounded up the sauce. I tasted it, and it tasted tinny.
6. Added 2 teaspoon of sugar. Still tasted blah. Needs parsley and rosemary! I went down to the garden and got a handful of parsley and a large sprig of rosemary, and while I was there I said how about some oregano? I plucked a handful of oregano.
7. I read on another site to add red wine, and so I added ½ cup of drinking red wine.
8. After cooking some more I realized, I forgot the garlic!!! Boy, did it smell good when I unpeeled each clove and took out the cooked garlic.
9. Cooked it some more with some pepper and ½ teaspoon of salt. Then I forgot it and the bottom burned. (Yes, this truly happened. Welcomed to my world of multi-tasking.)
10. Took my handy blender and blended everything up again.
11. Called my husband to see if he liked it. Something is missing he said, but he was not sure what.
So, the reason for this post is for all you amazing cooks to help me out of my agony and tell me your best tomato sauce recipe, or your easiest amazing tomato sauce recipe. Better yet, what is your favorite homegrown tomato for sauce? You can link your best recipe, modify mine, or write yours in the comments.For those readers who do not have a favorite sauce, please comment if you try any of the recipes listed in the comments.
Signed, Hopelessly Sauceless in New Jersey