Saturday, April 24, 2010

Tomato sauce to a soundtrack

I made a second batch of tomato sauce today using another gigantic harvest from my slowly shrivelling, but still producing, plants.  I had a range of tomatoes growing this year:

 Some of the varieties I grew this year.  
Clockwise from top right: Roma, Cherry, Gardener's Delight (x2), Tigerella (x2)

I used all of the types pictured above in today's tomato sauce.  I used to peel and de-pip the tomatoes but I can't be bothered anymore. I don't mind the pips and skin, and besides, peeling individual tomatoes is a little more efficient when you have large buggers.

Firstly, I add a coarsely chopped onion, 3-4 cloves of chopped garlic and a couple of whole bay leaves to about a quarter of a cup of good quality olive oil in a big saucepan.  Stir until the onion becomes soft and translucent.

Then I add about 2 kilograms of tomatoes, coarsely chopped.  At this point you can peel the tomatoes by scalding them in boiling water first so that the skin comes away easily; and/or you can de-pip the tomatoes using a sieve.   As I wrote earlier, though, it's not necessary.

Mix 2 tablespoons of tomato paste with a cup of hot water and add that to the saucepan, along with two tablespoons of coarsely chopped fresh basil, and a couple of teaspoons of chopped fresh oregano.

Add salt and pepper to taste. I also add half a teaspoon of sugar.

Turn the stove down and simmer for 2-4 hours depending on how much is in the saucepan, stirring occasionally.  I like to let it boil down until it's thick and the excess liquid has disappeared.  Tonight it took 3 hours to reduce in half:

This batch is quite orange, and I think it has something to do with the type of tomatoes I'm using.

You can use the sauce for pasta, pizza, lasagne...  or add anchovies, mushrooms, olives to elaborate on the theme.  Tonight, for instance, I had the sauce on pasta with some (amazing) Tongola Goat's Curd:

The last but most important thing about this sauce, however, is that it must be made while listening to Verdi's La Traviata.  Turn it up loud, and the sauce will truly sing.

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