I can never pass up taking home as many tomatoes as possible. All those varieties!! But invariably, while I can never eat them fast enough, I also want to keep that incredible flavor around for as long as possible. My family always insists that we have a huge container of my Glorious Gazpacho on hand. But since that can‘t keep into the coming weeks and months…here’s my new favorite way to use and preserve these luscious fruits.
I created this extremely adaptable sauce so that you can use it in a variety of different ways. You can cook other vegetables and add this sauce to make a vegetable sauce for pasta, or add it to lentils and mushrooms to make a heartier version. Tonight I am cooking fairy eggplants (the tiny versions!) and adding the sauce to make an eggplant caponata, which I will serve on chickpea pasta. It also works well as a pizza sauce or even as a dip!
This sauce takes a long time to simmer, though, so make sure to make it during a day when you will be home and near the kitchen. For me, this is a great rainy day project. It’s not a lot of active work so don’t get scared… and I promise it’s well worth the time and effort!
- Food mill (or box grater)
- Large Pot
- Sauce pot
- Mason jar (or other container that seals)
- 4 lbs ripe tomatoes can be any kind, I used what was growing in my garden: a mixture of big boy, large heirloom and roma
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- ¾ tsp fine sea salt
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 2 garlic cloves smashed
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 sprig fresh parsley (if available)
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
- Clean and cut the tomatoes into quarters
- Parboil the tomatoes for about 2-3 minutes, then drain
- Using a food mill, run the tomatoes through the mill in batches. This took me about 15 minutes. The food mill will catch the skin and most of the seeds, which you can discard. (If you do not have a food mill, you can press the tomatoes against a box grater, I have not done this method myself but have heard it works well).
- When you are finished you should have about 5cups of tomato puree.
- Add tomato liquid to a sauce pot, with olive oil, salt, tomato paste, garlic cloves, bay leaf, and basil.
- Bring to a boil and then down to a simmer. Simmer until the liquid reduces in half. This will take several hours. You don’t have to do much but keep an eye on it every once in a while.
- Once it has reduced, remove the bay leaf and the basil stem, pour into a clean mason jar (or similar container) with a top that seals well.
- I recommend writing the date on the jar. Sealed well, it will keep refrigerated for 1 month or frozen for 3 months.