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Sun-Kissed Tomato Sauce

 

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Freshly-picked, sun-kissed, juicy ripe tomatoes right out the garden are, without question, infinitely superior to shop-bought produce. Imagine turning those tomatoes into a rich flavorful sauce. The process is simple, with only two major steps. First, you puree the tomatoes, then you make the sauce. Once you try this sauce, you’ll never go back to store-bought processed tomato sauce.

In case you’re wondering where I learned to make tomato sauce from scratch, my trusted source is my native Italian mother, who learned from her Italian mom, who learned from her mom, etc. This “tomato sauce from fresh tomatoes making process” has been tested over many generations of moms from Italy.

Step 1: Puree the Tomatoes.

1. DSC_9314 Start with a batch of freshly picked tomatoes (from the farm or your garden). I don’t recommend the store-bought tomatoes as many commercial farms use gas to accelerate the ripening process. “Artificially accelerated” ripened tomatoes are not as flavorful.
2. puree6 Wash the tomatoes, remove the stem and any blemishes, and slice them in half. Add them to a large pot.
3. puree3 Cook over moderate heat until tomatoes have softened (15-30 minutes), as shown in the photo.
4. puree5 Using a ladle, remove some of the “watery juice” produced by the tomatoes. I removed 1/2 cup as I prefer a thicker sauce. As you can see from the photo, there is still some watery juice left in the pot.
 5. puree1 Now you need to puree the softened tomatoes. You have two options in terms of tools:
(option 1) a good blender – will puree the tomatoes, skin, and seeds
(option 2) a food mill – will puree the tomatoes and discard the skin and seeds.
My preference is the blender (I use the Vitamix) as it gets the job done quickly and perfectly.
 6. puree2 This is what tomato puree looks like: smooth and silky. Now that step 1 is complete, you can get started on step 2 right away, or just put the tomato puree in the fridge and make the sauce within a day or two.

 

Step 2: The Sauce.

In a pot, heat 1/4 cup of olive oil.  Add 1 medium onion, sliced, a handful of grass-fed ground beef (optional), one pastured chicken breast, sliced thinly (optional), and hot pepper flakes (optional). Let the onions sweat and the meat cook a little. Add the tomato puree, a handful of fresh whole basil leaves, chopped Italian parsley, and salt to taste. Simmer over low heat until the sauce is thickened, about 2 hours. Discard the basil.

During tomato off-season, you can use cans of tomato puree to make this sauce. Look for a trusted brand and the least amount of ingredients and sodium.

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