Homemade Tomato Sauce

I like to keep things simple when it comes to my ingredients.  I also don’t like to suffer making the ingredients.  The summer before last I, in the August heat, canned.  Never again.  So this past summer I froze a ton of food to can when it is as cold as the North Pole.  A much better way to go.  🙂

In the past I’ve made tomato sauce that had other ingredients like peppers, onions, etc.  But we’ve branched out with various types of food that asks for tomato sauce but not the flavour profile of Italian cooking.  So this time it is just garden fresh tomato.  That’s it.

tomato sauce 1 2013

We grew a lot of Roma, Amish Paste, and yellow tomatoes.  We also had leftover seeds for one other that I can’t remember what it was but it was a heirloom one.  Take a large cooking pot and turn the heat on to medium and start tossing in the tomatoes.  I filled it to the top.

tomato sauce 2 2013

It will reduce down as the tomatoes heat up.  I gradually added the tomatoes as space allowed.  I know a lot of people like to quickly boil the tomatoes then peel them.  That is a lot of work.   I tried that and I had a lovely mess on my hands.  Back to keeping it simple!

tomato sauce 3 2013

Let it simmer to reduce for a couple of hours.  I didn’t reduce too much this time round as I found previously if it is too thick you need to add other fluids then reduce down according to the recipe.  I would rather have the tomato flavour at it’s finest for the recipes.  So far it’s proved to be a good choice as in this recipe for Tomato Ginger Chicken.

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To finish we used an immersion blender to make everything was well blended.  I sterilized the jars and canned the sauce.  Process the jars for about 5 minutes in boiling water.

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The sauce had a lovely garden fresh flavour that lends well to many recipes.  And because it is just one ingredient it is very easy to make.  🙂

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Homemade Pasta

About a half hour after Rich and I got engaged we decided where we wanted to go on our honeymoon.  Italy!  A place where the house wine rivals great wine stateside.  How could we resist?

One night in Tuscany we signed up for some cooking lessons.  It was just the two of us which was perfect!  One of the things we learned how to do is make pasta.  Turns out this is very easy, so much so, we rarely buy any pasta anymore.

We make a ring of flour using 100 grams.  Now when we learned this we were told this was for one serving.  It makes enough for at least two servings sometimes more depending on how thin you roll it out.  Place one egg in the center.  Use a fork to gradually add the flour to the egg.  As egg sizes aren’t standardized you may need to add a bit more flour if it is too wet.  If it is too dry just add a bit of olive oil at a time until it comes together.  Then knead a couple of times to bring it all together.  Wrap in cling film to rest.

Resting it for about a half hour is good but you can get away with just resting it for 10 minutes if you are in a hurry.  During this time I usually gather various ingredients needed for the sauce.  It has been too hot to make homemade tomato sauce so I used what we had in the fridge and added:

3 cloves of garlic freshly minced

1 small red Italian pepper

2 shiitake mushrooms

1/2 the chicken breast we had leftover from the chicken cordon bleu

1/3 cup of Malbec wine (was a good excuse to open a bottle!)

Saute all the ingredients together then add the sauce and wine to simmer.  Once this is cooking it is time to roll out the pasta.

Make sure the pasta is lightly floured so it doesn’t stick going through the rollers.  I roll at least to a thinness of 5 but will go thinner depending on what I’m making.

When doing pasta the first thing I set up is the water.  In Tuscany we learned to never put oil in the water, just sea salt or kosher salt.  It makes a huge difference.  I get the water up to the boil then turn if off until I’m ready.  That way it only takes a minute or so to bring back to the boil and I get things done on time.

It only takes about 4 minutes to cook.  I do stir occasionally to keep the pasta separate.  Once it is cooked I add it to the sauce and toss.  Then serve.

This meal is super easy to make and it takes about 30-40 minutes depending on the pasta.