Pastaval2019

Recipe: Tomato Sauce

Foodie Explorers tomato sauce recipe

Make your own tomato sauce and taste the difference

A decent tomato sauce opens the door to many tasty dishes. From pizzas and pastas to curries to tasty stews, tomato sauce provides the base you build on. Making your own is cheap and easy, and once you have tasted your own homemade version you will never look at another ready made jar.

The Tomatoes

Foodie Explorers tomato sauce recipe

 

If you feel particularly flush, you can use fresh tomatoes. For the rest of us good quality tinned tomatoes are the best choice. Avoid cheap brands, they are usually watery.  I use Napolina or Ciro. One of them is usually on sale in four packs for £1:99. Both come in a rich tomato juice that helps your sauce.

Plum tomatoes have the best flavour for cooking. Tinned round tomatoes are not as good as plum, neither are tinned cherry tomatoes. Chopped tomatoes are chopped round tomatoes.

You also want some tomato puree in there. It will do a lot to enrich the flavour. Brands differ. Lidl Freshona is quite sweet and only 35p a tube. It produces an orange coloured sauce that unfortunately stains everything it comes into contact with. Ciro on the other hand is about £1 a tube, sharper tasting and gives your sauce a deep red colour.

Other Things

You could just puree the tinned tomatoes, but that would be tomato puree, not tomato sauce. Tomato sauce has more body and more flavour. Those come from adding other vegetables to help build the flavour. The classic combination is equal parts of carrot, onion and celery. No need to chop them finely as you are going to blend everything when its cooked.

Foodie explorers recipe tomato sauce

Flavourings

To keep your tomato sauce versatile, don’t over flavour it. So take it easy with the garlic, herbs and salt. Add them when using the sauce. If you have a couple of red peppers in the fridge, feel free to add them.

The Secret

There is a secret…. take your time. Good sauces are reductions that cook slowly for hours. During  that time the ingredients break down releasing their flavours and sugars. Stick the pot on a back burner on a very low heat. Tomatoes contain a lot of sugar, they stick and burn easily so keep an eye on it, but otherwise, get on with other things.

Ingredients

4 x 400g tins of peeled plum tomatoes.

200g of tomato puree.

1 head of celery plus roughly the same weight of carrots and onions.

6 bay leafs

6 cloves of garlic

A good glug of olive oil

Any fresh green herbs you have that are looking a bit wilted

Method

Foodie explorers recipe tomato sauce

Peel, trim and wash the carrot, onion and celery, then chop them roughly.

Put a good glug of olive oil in a 3 to 5 litre pot.

Add the vegetables, peeled garlic and bay leaves.

Put a lid on the pot and cook on a low heat for about an hour – until the veg is soft.

Foodie explorers recipe tomato sauce

Add the tinned tomatoes and tomato puree.

Add any fresh green herbs you have.

Add enough water to leave the vegetables just sticking above the surface.

Put a lid on the pot and cook on a low heat for about an hour.

Let the mixture cool.

Puree the mixture with a liquidiser or hand blender.

If you have one, pass the mixture through the finest disc of a food mill. It will produce a tastier sauce with a silky texture.

Store the sauce in convenient  amounts in the freezer. I find 500g tubs to be about right. Use plastic storage boxes, washed butter tubs or plastic bags.

Foodie explorers recipe tomato sauce

Recipe: Tomato Sauce

Ingredients

  • 4 x 400g tins of peeled plum tomatoes.
  • 200g of tomato puree.
  • 1 head of celery plus roughly the same weight of carrots and onions.
  • 6 bay leafs
  • 6 cloves of garlic
  • A good glug of olive oil
  • Any fresh green herbs you have that are looking a bit wilted

Instructions

  1. Peel, trim and wash the carrot, onion and celery, then chop them roughly.
  2. Put a good glug of olive oil in a 3 to 5 litre pot.
  3. Add the vegetables, peeled garlic and bay leafs.
  4. Put a lid on the pot and cook on a low heat for about an hour - until the veg is soft.Add the tinned tomatoes and tomato puree.
  5. Add any fresh green herbs you have.
  6. Add enough water to leave the vegetables just sticking above the surface.
  7. Put a lid on the pot and cook on a low heat for about an hour.
  8. Let the mixture cool.
  9. Puree the mixture with a liquidiser or hand blender.
  10. If you have one, pass the mixture through the finest disc of a food mill. It will produce a tastier sauce with a silky texture.
  11. Store the sauce in convenient  amounts in the freezer. I find 500g tubs to be about right. Use plastic storage boxes, washed butter tubs or plastic bags.
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Foodie explorers tomato sauce recipe

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  • Old Father Foodie spent over 20 years working as a chef in and around the Glasgow area. He watched the rise of Lambrusco, the demise of the steak house and still remembers life before Mcdonalds. He then spent many years working on education projects in Europe. Still a keen cook, he has picked up the odd tip or two along the way and now enjoys sharing them on these pages.

  • Show Comments (2)

  • Christina | Christina’s Cucina
    I've never had a tomato sauce like this so I can't comment on what it tastes like. However, there is one thing I have to disagree with you on and that's the comment on time. The secret to a good tomato sauce is not the length of time that it cooks. That is a very widely believed myth outside of Italy. You can make an amazingly awesome tomato sauce that is ready before your pasta is finished cooking. :) Honest.
    • old father foodie
      Hi Christina, thanks for your comment. It is always good to get feedback. Totally agree that you can make a tasty dressing for pasta in a couple of minutes using fresh tomatoes. The aim here is to make a general purpose tomato sauce. The ingredients - basically a mirepoix with tomato - hints at its French provenance. Take a trip down to cajun country for more of the same. Long slow cooking is required to release the sugars from the tomatoes and other ingredients and to create a richly flavoured reduction. Neither method is right or wrong; they are different.

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