I love a fast dinner. Especially when I can have a delicious meal on the table in less than 20 minutes on a hectic weeknight. In order to do that, I am more than happy to invest some extra time prepping in advance so that I can save some time when I don’t have it after work. One of my husband’s favorite meals is spaghetti and meatballs. If I would let him eat it everyday, I am sure he would. With his obsession, I like to keep homemade sauce in the freezer. I make it in huge batches so we can pack the freezer for later.
If you follow me on Facebook, you probably already know that I spent a couple days last week making sauce using fresh, local tomatoes. I made it twice. The first batch was my trial run and the second was to make sure I had a solid recipe. I have to say, this is some of the best sauce that I have ever eaten. It tastes like summer and will be so good in January (if it lasts that long) to taste fresh, summer tomatoes.
This sauce is very versatile. You can use it as is to make a big bowl of pasta or use it as an ingredient in other sauces. I like to use basic sauce to make Vodka sauce, Bolognese, and even minestrone soup. The most important part of this process is to peel the tomatoes. If you have never done that before, look below for pictures.
Score each tomato with an x on the bottom using a sharp knife.
Core the tomato.
Dunk the tomatoes in boiling water. I like to do 5 tomatoes at a time. Count to 30.
Remove the tomatoes from the boiling water using a slotted spoon and dunk them in an ice bath.
Peel off the skin. It should come off easily.
Some recipes tell you to dice the peeled tomatoes. That seemed time consuming to me. I just squeeze them into a bowl.
I doubled the recipe to make this pot and ended up with 25 pints. I like to keep the banana peppers and freeze them in the sauce. I use them on pizza.
If you have a little extra freezer space and some tomatoes, this is a great way to enjoy summer fresh tomatoes all winter.
Prep Time: 60 minutes
Cook Time: 2-3 hours
- 1 peck plum tomatoes
- 1 bag ice
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 diced onion
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 1 small can tomato paste
- 20-30 basil leaves
- 2-3 hot banana peppers
- salt to taste
In an 8 quart or larger pan, heat olive oil and cook onions on medium low until translucent.
While the onions are cooking, fill a large bowl with ice and water to create an ice bath. Boil water in an 8 quart pot filled about half full (enough to cover a tomato). Core the tomatoes and score with an x on the bottom.
Next to the boiling water, set up the ice water, a slotted spoon, a bowl for the tomato peels and a large bowl for the peeled tomatoes. Boil 5 tomatoes at a time for 30 seconds. Remove quickly from the boiling water and place in the ice bath with a slotted spoon. Remove from the ice water and peel the skin off of the tomatoes. Squeeze the tomatoes in a large bowl. Repeat until all the tomatoes are peeled.
When the onions are translucent, add the garlic, tomato paste, and red pepper flakes. Cook for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and the basil. Cook for 20-30 minutes.
Using an immersion blender, blend the tomatoes until smooth. Add the banana peppers and salt to taste. Cook for about 3 hours until the sauce has reduced by about 1/4. Allow to cool before freezing.