Store bought marinara tomato sauce in a jar (or can) can be super convenient. However, homemade tomato sauce IS THE BEST! Nothing can compare. It’s pretty darn easy to make your own sauce, and make it how you like it.
photo via veganfoodcraft.com
You can use fresh tomatoes when they are in season. This can be especially awesome if you grow your own garden and are up to your ears in tomatoes! When tomatoes aren’t in season, use canned – “Crushed” or “Whole” are best – avoid diced (these won’t give the same texture and might actually make the sauce more watery).
If using fresh, here’s how to prepare the tomatoes:
top: sheknows.com | second row: brooklynfarmhouse.com | center and bottom row: blog.williams-sonoma.com
Tomato prep is a lot of work, so its best if you have tomatoes in large quantities (3-8 lbs) You can even make large batches and store in the freezer for later use. (Remember you can totally skip these 8 steps and just use canned tomatoes):
#1: Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Do not salt your water, this will cause the flesh of the tomatoes to get mealy and disintegrate.
#2: Fill a bowl large enough to hold all of the tomatoes with ice water.
#3: Cut out the cores of your tomatoes with a paring knife.
#4: Score a small “x” on the bottom of each tomato. This will allow the skin to separate from the flesh. (pictured top right)
#5: Once the water is boiling, add the tomatoes for about 30 seconds. Remove from the boiling water IMMEDIATELY when the skin starts to peel away and place into the bowl of ice water. NOTE: The boiling process is just to remove the skin, not to cook the tomato as a whole. This shouldn’t take more than 30 seconds. If you’re still boiling the tomatoes after 1 minute, you’re cooking them too long. (pictured center)
#6: Let the tomatoes cool in the ice water bath for a couple of minutes. Then, gently peel the skin off. (pictured bottom right) NOTE: Don’t leave the tomatoes in the ice water for too long or they’ll start to get soggy, which could affect the flavor.
#7: Once peeled, place tomatoes in a large bowl and crush them by hand. You don’t need to break them into small pieces; you’re really just breaking the tomatoes open to release the juice.
#8: Using the tomatoes you just peeled, you can make a large batch of pasta sauce adding the following ingredients (if desired) to taste. The following recipe is for 28 oz of peeled fresh tomatoes. So, double or triple the recipe according to how much tomatoes you have peeled.
Homemade Marinara Tomato Sauce Recipe
- 1 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
- half onion, finely chopped
- 1 medium carrot, finely chopped
- 1 stalk celery, finely chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, crushed
- 28oz. whole peeled fresh tomatoes with the juice or 28 oz can tomatoes, with the juice
- 2 Tbsp tomato paste
- ½ cup chopped fresh parsley
- ½ tsp dried oregano
- 2 dry bay leaves
- Salt and pepper to taste
- In a saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat.
- Add onions, carrot and celery and cook 4-5 minutes until they are soft and golden. Don’t let these burn, as this will cause a bitter taste to the sauce.
- Add garlic and sauté, being careful not to burn – this will also cause a bitter taste.
- Add tomato paste and stir well. Add tomatoes, including the juice in case you are using tomato cans.
- Add salt, pepper, oregano and bay leaves.
- Cover and bring to a low simmer for 25-30 minutes.
- Remove from the heat, add fresh basil and stir well. Remove the dry bay leaves. Add more or less seasoning, if needed.
This sauce can be used in your favorite recipes or you can pour the sauce in a mason jar and keep it in the fridge for about 3 or 4 days or you can freeze for months.
It would be great on pasta – regular, gluten free, raviolis, penne, zucchini pasta noodles, etc. It also would go good on chicken, eggplant parmesan, lasagna, meatballs, casseroles, etc. It’s a very versatile recipe. Hope you enjoy the simplicity of it. Let me know how your recipe turned out.