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Sure they’re pretty, but now what?

Heirloom Tomatoes

Nobody in my house likes tomatoes, including me.  Can you believe it?  Every year I walk past the heirloom tomatoes at the farmers’ markets and think, “those are beautiful, but it would be pointless to bring them home with me.”

Heirloom Tomatoes

This year is different, because this year I have read Animal Vegetable Miracle, and in doing so have been inspired to make and store my own tomato sauce.  While none of us around here will bite into a raw tomato willingly, pouring some over our spaghetti in sauce form is a completely different story.

Heirloom Tomatoes

So, my more-experienced-in-the-realm-of-tomatoes bloggy friends, I ask you – what is your favorite way to turn beauties like these into a smooth, delectable pasta sauce?  I’m crazy excited to make my own sauce! (And, truth be told, I really want to try this too, even though it is probably entirely too ambitious for me.)

All I need is your great grandmother’s tried and true recipe please, and I’ll be on my way

😀

11 thoughts on “Sure they’re pretty, but now what?

  1. I’m allergic to tomatoes, but Hubs loves them, so we have three plants in the garden. Hope he enjoys having them all to himself!
    .-= See Marty’s latest blog post: Julie’s Dress =-.

  2. Get a copy of “Putting Food By” or the Ball book of canning. PFB is my preserving bible. One thing to know about making sauce with heirloom tomatoes is that the red ones make the beautiful dark red sauce you want, and the others don’t. For example, yellow tomatoes when cooked turn an ugly brown. I like sauce with lots of vegetables in it, and I never use a recipe. Note that tomato sauce (just pureed tomatoes) can be canned safely in a boiling water bath but tomato sauce with onions and garlic, not to mention zucchini, etc., needs a pressure canner. Sauce basics – plenty of onions and garlic, chopped and sauteed. Add tomatoes – some people peel and seed, then chop but I don’t bother, I just chop them everything in the food processor. Cook on low heat till it thickens to the right consistency. Add some fresh basil, minced, when the sauce has cooked down. You want thicker sauce if you’re going to put it on pizza, and medium for spaghetti.

  3. I cheat. I buy Mrs. Wages spaghetti sauce mix and follow the directions on the package. Easy, peasy.
    .-= See Denise’s latest blog post: Wearing Dinner Linens and Stuff =-.

  4. I honestly don’t do sauce very often, but if I did, here’s what I’d do:

    Roast the tomatoes on the grill or in the oven on high heat until they are semi soft. Take them out, cool them off, slip the skins off. I store them this way every year, just throw them into a storage container or bag and put them in the freezer for later, because you know tomatoes all come at once! Save as much of the juice as you can.

    For sauce, I’d cook a chopped onion in butter and olive oil over medium heat for awhile, til they are soft and translucent. Throw a couple of chopped cloves of garlic in, and cook for a couple of minutes, til they smell awesome, but aren’t burning. Then add a little bit of red or white wine, tomatoes, salt, and cook down for awhile, til it thickens. Throw in some herbs shortly before you’re done, oregano and basil.

    What I usually do with my roasted stored tomatoes, though, is wait til I have a good lot of them, and then make soup. And the process is fairly similar. Butter and olive oil into a big soup pot, sautee 2 parts onion to 1 part carrot and celery, all chopped finely. Maybe three cups total? A bunch. When the vegetables are softish, throw in a bunch of chopped garlic, and cook briefly so they release their aroma, but don’t burn. Then add a whole bunch of roasted tomatoes and their juice, 2-3 sprigs of fresh rosemary (the herb will come off the stick as you cook it down), and the rind of a hunk of parmesan cheese, and maybe some chicken or vegetable stock if it looks too thick. Cook for 30-45 minutes? Til the flavors marry and it cooks down a little bit. Remove the rosemary sticks and the cheese rind, season to taste with salt and pepper, and puree with a stick blender or in small batches in the blender. It’s so good with some parmesan cheese grated over the top, or with a grilled cheese sandwich. (I like mine with gruyere cheese and brown mustard. :))
    .-= See Tracy’s latest blog post: Balloons! =-.

  5. […] and thank you, those of you gave me some tomato guidance yesterday.  Sauce-making sounds like another great weekend […]

  6. Great pictures. Beautiful ‘maters.

    I can’t believe you don’t like them. When I was broke in college I was working in a little quick-stop. One of the regulars must have sensed my lack of funds and brought me a huge crate of fresh tomatoes. I lived on them for a week until my paycheck.

    I didn’t feel deprived in the least.
    .-= See dani@little fists’s latest blog post: A Promise =-.

  7. I also read that book and I LOVED it! I, too, am putting up food this year and knowing my family is going to enjoy much more real foods makes me feel so good in side.
    If you don’t find a good recipe, I have one…and it’s pretty darn easy, so let me know!

  8. […] to make these monster BLT sandwiches.  Ok, strictly-speaking, they were only BL’s because, as you know, we don’t like tomatoes around here.  It’s ok, though.  A nitrite-free bacon & […]

  9. Roast them!!!! THey make a wonderful pasta sauce — either alone or to add as the “tomato” ingredient in any sauce. Let me know if you want the recipe from cook’s illustrated! regards, nt

  10. Hi Lisa! My favourite tomato sauce is the classic italian recipe -well, I’m Italian! 😀
    I don’t know what’s available in your shops, so I’ll give it a try. That’s how I do it:

    Cook and stir half an onion, chopped in very small pieces, in 4-5 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil for about 3minutes.
    Add half a carrot and half a piece of celery, thinly chopped, and leave 2 more minutes, or until they seem to be a bit soft.
    Then add a piece of garlic (sorry, I don’t know the english term for it). Don’t leave the garlic more than 1 minute, or it’ll burn.
    (Optional: add some minced meat and cook for 5 minutes)
    Now add chopped tomatoes, either fresh or already cooked -in this case, you’ll have cooked them for 1 minute in boiling water, peeled them, and cooked them whole (not chopped) for 30-45mins in water (without salt!). I’d use 2 cans of chopped tomatoes for half an onion, or 1 can for a quarter; but I don’t know if they sell canned peeled raw tomatoes in US.
    Cook the chopped tomatoes for 5-10 minutes; add some salt, not all they need to be ok, just some. Also add a pinch of sugar -mind, just a pinch, less than a quarter of a teaspoon. It helps sweeten them, cause sometimes they’re bitter.
    Finally add the tomato puree, stir, add the salt needed, and leave on the pot for… until it seems ready to you: 20-30 minutes usually. I use 1 bottle of “liquid” tomato sauce for 2 cans chopped/half onion.
    Add some fresh herbs 5 minutes before turning off the gas, they mustn’t cook for long.

    This is the recipe my gran taught me, but easier/faster recipes just use onion, “liquid” sauce and salt, or no vegetables at all.
    Sorry for the long comment! Hope it’ll turn out useful.
    .-= See carla’s latest blog post: Smontare la macchina per la pasta =-.

  11. I use Giada De Laurentis (I think I misspelled her last name) Marinara sauce recipe. I don’t like tomatoes either but love pasta sauce. This is really simple and easy to double. It has carrots and celery in it which cut the acidity of the tomotoes and I think it helps make a big difference. (It is in her first cookbook and has 2 carrots, 2 celery stalks etc.) Sorry I don’t have the recipe on me right now.

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