Did you know that tomatoes can teach you about life? This is especially true when you decide to make a garden tomato sauce with fresh tomatoes.
If you struggle with perfection, the tomato can teach you that the most imperfect tomatoes, especially those called ugly tomatoes, are often the sweetest, most delicious, like the Pink German Tomatoes. A tomato with a bruise can often be salvaged and do more with its good parts than a processed, perfect tomato which can never offer that same sweet taste and texture that a ripe, garden tomato can. Tomatoes teach you to grab your opportunities while you have them. If you procrastinate, tomatoes don’t wait for you. They ripen and need attention.
There is a crazy and disturbing story to the tomatoes in this sauce. I shared this very same basket with Retro Rose (my mother). She is prone to a temper and not seeing things as they really are. She threw all the tomatoes out, deeming them unfit and took it personal. Not only can she not deal with imperfection, she deemed the overly ripened tomatoes as reason enough to stop talking to us.
Caught completely off guard, although, this is common behavior, it wasn’t the joy it could have been making this sauce. Derailed by a tornado of a phone call with a threat to throw the tomatoes into my yard, I waited a few days to use the sauce, as it takes me that long to recover.
We all have difficult people in our life. I argued with myself as to whether to share this, but around here and amongst my friends and all the friends of my whole entire life, everyone knows of these outbursts. The phone rings, the f word flies and the relationship is cut off. At some point, months to years later, she will call and act like nothing ever happened. She missed my wedding due to one of her storms, just to show you how severe it can get. I made a video for her making this sauce, but I had to delete it, because it reminded me too much of the outburst, and that stress showed on my face. I’m just keeping it real. I have a pretty blog. I make pretty food. But, my life is not always pretty.
The good news here is that a few days later I saved the sauce for a big dinner with my closest friends, and in spite of what had happened, it didn’t spoil that evening. In fact, those evenings make life worth living.
The tomatoes used for this sauce I used three varieties including German Pinks which are very sweet and dense, great for helping to make the sauce think. Eventually the tomatoes in my own garden will ripen all at once and I’ll use those too.
You can make the sauce as thick or thin as you like, smooth or chunky. This is a smooth version, using an immersion blender. I cook the tomatoes first in big chunks in a crock pot.
The only ingredients will be tomatoes, onion, olive oil, salt, pepper and a sprig of basil. I may add in squeeze of honey or sugar if I feel the tomatoes need sweetened. I blend my sauce at the end after the onions are cooked down with an immersion blender.
I was making eggplant parmesan, braciole and spaghetti. I wanted a fairly smooth and thick sauce. One trick that I use to thicken up a sauce is to make it a few days ahead and refrigerate. Even one day will make a lot of difference.
Another thing to know about making garden tomato sauce is that it will always turn out a little differently. You have no control over the tomatoes. Some will be very watery. Others will be just right. I cook my tomatoes with chopped onion which will practically melt down into the sauce. The basil also adds wonderful flavor.
- 5 pounds tomatoes
- 1 onion, peeled, chopped
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 tablespoon salt or more to taste
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper or more to taste
- fresh basil
- 2 tablespoons butter (optional)
- 1 tablespoon honey or sugar (optional)
- Cut a x on bottom of each tomato (to be able to peel).
- Put into boiling water, just enough to fit, usually 4 - 6 at a time. Once water is boiling again, cook for about 8 seconds. Remove. Cool.
- Peel tomatoes.
- Hold over a bowl and squish a little bit to get some liquid out of the tomatoes. No need to remove all, but some tomatoes have more water than others.
- Chop roughly, put in slow cooker.
- Add onion, salt, pepper and basil.
- Cook for 6 hours on low in slow cooker or 2 to 4 hours in a pot on stove. The important thing is to reduce a lot of watery liquid from the tomatoes.
- Taste sauce and adjust for sweetness and salt and pepper.
- Blend with immersion blender or blender.
- You may choose to add in some butter and stir to make a very smooth sauce after you have blended it.
Most times of the year I use canned San Marzano Italian tomatoes for this tomato sauce recipe. It’s a quick sauce, basic and balanced. But, in the summer time, at least a few times a year, I make a fresh garden tomato sauce.