Saturday, October 15, 2011

Homemade Marinara Sauce and How to Make It

Make your own marinara sauce for pizza and pasta. It takes a little time but it's well worth it. You can use exactly the spices that you like and fresh tomatoes make a very different sauce than canned. (But if you have a ton or tomatoes, you can bottle what you don't use fresh.)

How to Chop and Seed Tomatoes

1. Bring a pan of water to boil. Place four or five tomatoes at a time in the hot water and leave them in the bath for one minute. Remove them from the water and start another batch. Let the tomatoes cool to where you can handle them.

2. Peel the tomatoes by starting a small slit in the skin with a knife at the tip of a tomato. Grasp the edge of the skin and peel the skin from the tomato in strips. Repeat with each tomato.

3. Cut away the top of the tomato. Cut the tomato in half. With your thumb, loosen the seeds and press them into a bowl or into the sink. With Roma tomatoes, only the flesh will remain. With other tomatoes, you can remove most of the seeds. Throw the seeds away. Repeat with the remaining tomatoes.

Tools for Removing the Seeds from Tomatoes

While it's easy to peel and seed tomatoes by hand, you can do it in less time with tools. A Victorio strainer, a food mill, or potato ricer will do it if the screens are small enough. (It takes 2.2 millimeter screen or smaller to catch tomato seeds.) A Victorio strainer has a hopper on the top and a twist handle and will handle a lot of produce in a hurry. It catches both the seeds and the skins and it is available with different sized screens to make anything from raspberry jelly to applesauce to salsa. You can get the same results from a food mill but without the large hopper and screw type crank of the vireo strainer, it is not as quick. A ricer is a simple hand press used to press one tomato at a time through a screen. It also is used to rice potatoes and other produce. Choose the tool that meets your needs.

Canning Your Tomato Sauce

If you love your own tomato sauce, can it. Maybe you like the spice blend that you are using. Maybe it's the idea of doing it yourself, maybe canning your own tomatoes. Maybe it's to save money but it's great to can your own tomato sauce. Just make a bigger batch and can it according to the instructions from a reliable source such as your equipment manual or a government source.

Tomato Sauce for Pizza or Pasta

2 to 3 cups peeled and seeded Roma or other tomatoes
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt or to taste
1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 large garlic clove, crushed
1 teaspoon crushed, dried oregano or a tablespoon of fresh
1 teaspoon dried basil leaves or two teaspoons fresh
2 tablespoons olive oil

Baker's note: Add garlic, oregano, and basil to suit your tastes. Fresh herbs can be substituted for the dried one but it will take more for the same flavor.


Chop the seeded tomatoes in a food processor or blender. Cook the tomatoes along with the seasonings and sugar for ten minutes or until it starts to thicken, stirring frequently. Add the olive oil. Let cool.

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