And cook them all day long,
Before putting up the resulting tomato sauce
In sterilized canning jars.
I, too, enjoy fresh summer tomato sauce,
But during the summer I walk the path of least effort;
So with only 10 minutes of prep time,
And 20 minutes on the stove,
This is my hack version of homemade tomato sauce;
It gives fast food a whole new meaning.
These lovely Roma tomatoes are from my favorite solar powered farm, Maximucks. With plum tomatoes, less is more:
As in – less seeds, less acidity, and less water content, giving us more in the flavor department.
When it comes to peeling the tomato, there are options. You could blanch the tomatoes in boiling water, and peel them by hand, but I’ll pass on this painstaking process;
You could cook the tomatoes with their skin on, and use a food mill to rid the sauce of the peel. I don’t have a food mill;
Or you could channel your inner MacGyver and improvise. The coarse side of a cheese grater works beautifully to rid the tomatoes of their skin and core, while preserving the juice and flesh.
Cut the tomatoes in half and grate them into a bowl. The peel and core are all that is left in your hand.
There are some seeds, but not enough to be noticeable. Seeds can become bitter in tomato sauce if they are subjected to a long cooking process. Since this is a quickie recipe, the only bitterness will come from the late-for-dinner family member, who missed out on a great meal.
Besides the tomatoes, there are just a few ingredients. There is the standard olive oil, and garlic, with fresh basil for good measure.
There is a hint of heat from part of a partially dried red pepper that I picked up at Maximucks. A good substitute would be dried, crushed red pepper, the kind that I liberally sprinkle on pizza, making my eyes tear with each bite. I have a heavy hand with pepper, but if you don’t like the heat, you can limit the pepper or just leave it out.
The sauce reduces in a large, shallow skillet. The skillet is important because the wide surface area greatly reduces the amount of time it takes to cook down the sauce. I finish the sauce with an ingredient that will make my Sicilian mother cringe, butter.
Ma, if you’re reading this, put down the wooden spoon and look away.
- 3 lbs. Roma tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 3 Tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (more or less to taste)
- salt, to taste
- ¼ cup fresh basil, chopped, plus more for garnish (optional)
- Wash tomatoes.
- Grate tomatoes on the coarse side of a cheese grater into a bowl. Discard skin and core.
- Place 1 Tablespoon butter and the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook until butter is melted.
- Add garlic and crushed red pepper flakes, and cook for 1 minute until fragrant.
- Add tomato pulp and all juice collected. Season with salt. Increase heat to medium/high. Cook for 13-15 minutes or until most of the tomato juice has reduced, and tomato sauce has thickened. Reduce heat to low.
- Add basil and remaining 2 Tablespoons of butter. Cook, stirring occasionally, until butter has melted, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and serve.