Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Let's Get Saucy

I recently started making pasta and pizza dough from scratch. I usually make my own sauces just out of a can of tomato sauce and adding to it, but never just an all purpose red sauce. Here is what I came up with.

Tomato Pasta Sauce
28 oz Can of Plum tomatoes
8 oz can tomato paste
1 medium onion diced
6-8 cloves of garlic minced
1/2 cup of red wine
Italian herb mix
smoked paprika
Fresh basil
Salt & Pepper to taste
Olive oil

In a large heated pot, add the olive oil and let it get up to temperature, but before the smoke point. I usually use grape seed oil as it has a higher smoke temp, but I used olive oil this time. Add in the onions and garlic. Saute unit the onions are translucent.

Next is to add in the tomatoes. I used a can of plum tomatoes. If it was in the summer, I would have used fresh tomatoes from my garden, but it's the middle of winter and my crop of tomatoes last summer was pretty poor due to colder weather so I had none canned up. Since I am using canned tomatoes, the key is to crush them in your hand before you throw them in the pot. This helps extract the flavors out of the tomatoes and helps break them down. Do this to every tomato and also pour in any juices from the can. Add in a few generous pinches of Salt & pepper.

Let it simmer for 15-20 minutes on a medium-low heat. Next, add in the tomato paste and red wine. Add in the Italian herb mix, smoked paprika, and basil. The paprika doesn't add a ton of heat, but gives a great smokey flavor. If you want more heat, add in red pepper flakes. Again let it simmer for 15 minutes.
After this time, give it a taste (which you should be doing through out the process anyways) and adjust seasonings as needed. If you think it is a bit thick, you can either add more red wine or good ol water. Bring the heat down to low and let it simmer for an hour or so until most of the tomatoes are broken down.

Depending on what you are going to use the sauce for and how chunky you like your sauce, you may or may not want to do this last step. I like a thinner sauce, so I used my immersion blender and blended the sauce for a few minutes. I didn't blend it until it was completely smooth, but just until big chunks were gone. Again, blend or don't blend to your preference. Add (or don't) add seasons again to taste. Let it simmer for another 15 minutes or so. At this point you are done.

You can either use it right away or portion it out and freeze it. This yielded me roughly 3 cups of sauce. I forgot to take pictures along the way until I was packaging it up, so next time I will add pictures! This is, by design, a very basic sauce. You can for sure modify it to add other things such as mushrooms, olive, capers, other spices... depending on the application. I hope you enjoy!

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