Ricardo's 3-Step Tomato Sauce
- serves 0
San Marzano or Romanello Tomatoes
1. The Tomatoes: Buy your tomatoes two or three days before you make the sauce. Store them covered, outdoors or indoors but in either case shielded from direct sunlight. The extra few days of ripening will make for sauce with maximum flavour. When using a manual tomato mill, start by blanching the tomatoes: plunge them into boiling water for 2 or 3 minutes, depending on ripeness. Once they’re out of the water, cut them in half to check for rot. Discard any damaged tomatoes. If you have an electric press, just cut the tomatoes in half, check the inside, and feed them into the machine.
2. The Purée: If you want this to be easy, you need to invest about $60 in a tomato mill; electric versions are very efficient, but also much more expensive, in the $200 to $400 range. If making sauce for the winter becomes an annual ritual for you, the expense is worthwhile. Since it’s a machine you’re likely to use only once a year, consider sharing the purchase with some friends. After blanching the tomatoes, run them through the mill. Like magic, the purée comes out one side and the skin and seeds the other. You can use the machine in the same way to juice red tomatoes.
3. The Sauce: Cook the purée uncovered for about 90 minutes in a large pot over medium heat. The cooking time depends on the quantity being made and the desired consistency. During cooking, all you have to do is skim and stir occasionally. At the end, you can put a few basil leaves in your sterilized jars when you fill them with sauce. If you want to store your sauce in the basement or in a cold room, you’ll need to sterilize the filled jars in boiling water for 35 minutes. Alternatively, freeze the finished product in suitably heavy-duty bags.