Recipe for Fresh Plum Tomato Sauce

Yesterday I headed to Haymarket to load up on veggies and fruit for the week. They had plum tomatoes for a dollar a pound, so I grabbed some, with visions of salads, BLT’s, or gazpacho. I came home and unpacked all my goodies only to find my tomatoes were not in as good of shape as I hoped. I immediately decided I would cook them down and make up a small batch of fresh plum tomato sauce.

I stumbled upon Smitten Kitten’s post from awhile back with many tips and tricks on how to make the perfect sauce, so I used that as my guide. All the recipes I found online were for huge batches using a few pounds of tomatoes minimum, so I used her ideas and made up my own version. Now, I am not going to claim it as the best sauce you will ever have, because I have not pinned down the perfect salt and basil to tomato, veggies, and oil ratio, but the texture was great, the tomatoes shined through, and with additional fresh basil and a sprinkle of romano cheese, it tasted pretty awesome on wheat pasta.

I think it is a great start and a good base recipe that I will continue to tweak time and time again. But for my first try ever making sauce with fresh tomatoes instead of the canned stuff, I was pretty proud. I figure you can add some cream for a pink sauce, add veggies to pack in more flavor and texture, add meat for a Bolognese, or play around with it and add more herbs like oregano, parsley, or Italian seasoning. Really the options are endless!

Fresh Plum Tomato Sauce
Makes 2 cups of sauce
Ingredients:
7-8 plum tomatoes (1 lb)
1 tbsp olive oil
¼ onion
1/8 carrot
1/8 celery stalk
½ tsp garlic, minced
Fresh basil, chopped
Salt to taste
*optional: black pepper, parmesan or romano cheese, red pepper flakes

Directions:
Boil pot of water.
Peel, wash, and cut veggies (except tomatoes). I used a quick chopper to dice them up at the same time.


Then measure out garlic and put all these items aside.
Rinse tomatoes and put an “x” on the bottom before placing them in the boiling water for 30 seconds.


Remove pot from the heat and put the tomatoes in a strainer, rinsing them with ice cold water.


Once the tomatoes have cooled down, remove the skin of the tomatoes and discard.


Next cut the tomatoes in half and slice off the tops/stems/centers.


Using your best strainer over a bowl or pot, squeeze the tomatoes to remove the seeds. Also scoop out any extra seeds with a spoon or your finger.


Put aside the juice for the sauce and discard the seeds.


Using the same pot you boiled the tomatoes, heat olive oil at medium heat. Stir in minced garlic, mix, and let heat until fragrant. Next add in the veggies and stir and let cook about 5 minutes.

Lower the heat and mix in tomatoes. As the tomatoes heat up, use a masher to break up tomato halves and mix up sauce.

Pour in extra juice.

Cover pot and simmer 30 to 45 minutes, stirring occasionally, until desired texture is reached.
Please note that the sauce may be chunky with the juices a bit looser then bottled sauces. At this point it is ready to season with salt, add chopped basil, and serve. But I threw it in a blender to smooth it out. I then added the additional basil and seasoned with salt, followed by a sprinkle of cheese, over wheat pasta.

I welcome any tips on how you perfect your homemade sauce!

*Recipe adapted from Smitten Kitten Fresh Tomato Sauce

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