Tomato sauce is not only delicious with pasta or rice, it is also one of the basics that you will need for many recipes. The homemade version has nothing to do with the one you can buy in the supermarket: the flavor is sooo much better! You will definitely appreciate the difference and it doesn’t take that much work, although it takes a while to cook.
I was spending some time in Seattle, at my friend Billy’s house, and he had bought a whole box of tomatoes and lots of onions in Costco. I decided to cook something with the available ingredients, so I thought about some caramelized onions (that he loves on a toast with melted brie cheese) and a pot of tomato sauce, that he could use later with white rice and fried eggs, bacon and pasta, meatballs… I had to leave for the airport before he was back home, so I sent him a message with instructions before I turned off my phone. When I arrived to LA and turned my phone on again, I had a message from Billy; he was thanking me for that nice tomato soup…He drank almost 4 cups of tomato sauce!
Ingredients (yields 3-4 cups)
4 pounds ripe vine tomatoes
2 onions (about ¾ pound)
1 garlic clove
3 tbsps. extra virgin olive oil
sugar (only if needed)
STEP 1.- Finely chop the onions. Fry in a pot with 3 tbsps. olive oil over medium-low heat until evenly golden brown.
STEP 2.- Fry the onion slowly, until evenly golden brown. Meanwhile, wash and dice the tomatoes and chop the garlic.
STEP3.- When the onion is ready add the tomatoes and garlic. Season with salt and let simmer until the tomatoes release all their water.
STEP 4.- Puree with a hand blender (you can avoid this, the tomatoes will lose their shape anyway; I puree the sauce so it cooks more evenly) and let simmer over low heat (no lid) until the water is gone and the volume is reduced to about half of the initial volume (for about 90 minutes). It will have the texture of a thick pure.
STEP 5.- Pour into a bowl through a strainer or chinois, so seeds and skins are removed.
- If the tomatoes are not sweet enough, add some sugar near the end. It will enhance the flavor and eliminate the acid taste, although if you use ripe vine tomatoes or any other variety of sweet tomatoes that are ripe and you cook them for enough time, it shouldn’t taste acid.
- The more you reduce the liquid, the more concentrated the sauce will be and the less space it will occupy when you store it. You can always add liquid later if needed.
- I don’t peel the tomatoes for two reasons: it is easier to remove seeds and skin at the end and, most importantly, they add more flavor to the tomato sauce.