With sincere apologies to Elizabeth Barrett Browning, 1806 – 1861 …
How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when dappled in light,
Painted, soft, and ripe to taste.
I love thee to the level of every day’s
Most quiet need, juicy bite by juicy bite.
I love thee freely, as chefs about you fight.
I love thee purely, as they beg for praise.
I love thee with the passion put to use
With sharpened knife, I liberate your juice.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With green peppers. I love thee lightly tossed
In salads, soups, in many things; but, if I choose,
I shall but love thee better in a sauce.
The heat is upon us now, and with it comes the sudden ripening of dozens of tomatoes. Roma, Indigo Rose, Black Sea Man, Yellow Cherries, the list goes on. I cannot bear wasting even a single ripe tomato, so it’s into the pot they go. Yesterday we made just over three liters of tomato sauce, all of which is in the freezer now, and we still have another basket of Roma tomatoes to use. I’m delighted. Growing tomatoes during the heavy rains that arrive with a vengeance later in the year is a challenge, so it’s best to make the most of them now.
I’ve been making tomato sauce for as long as I remember. It’s been a staple in my house, fresh or frozen, and used as a base for soup, in a pasta, or to add to stews. In my opinion, no sauce is better than that made from your own homegrown tomatoes. I don’t skin mine before cooking, and I don’t remove the seeds either. Rather, I cook the sauce and then reduce it to a consistency I like. After letting it cool slightly I run the whizzer stick through the pot, making sure I rid the sauce of any bits and pieces.
The recipe below is for a large quantity of tomatoes. Feel free to reduce it by a half or a third.
Tomato Sauce – with a nod to Sarah Raven’s Really Rich Tomato Sauce recipe in the Garden Cookbook
Yield: Just over 3 liters/3 quarts of tomato sauce
- 3 kgs/6.5 pounds of ripe tomatoes (Roma make the best sauce)
- 3 large red onions, chopped
- 6 tablespoons olive oil
- 6 large fresh garlic cloves, chopped
- 3 tablespoons fresh thyme and fresh oregano, mixed and chopped
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 2 bottles passata (720ml), or 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- 600ml red wine
- Salt and pepper to taste
1. Wash and roughly chop the tomatoes.
2. Heat the olive oil over a medium heat and then add the onions. Soften until translucent, being careful not to let them brown, about 8-10 minutes.
3. Add the tomatoes, garlic, fresh herbs, sugar, passata/tomato paste, and wine to the pot and bring to the boil, stirring regularly.
4. Once boiling, turn the heat down and simmer until the sauce is reduced to a consistency you like, about 45 minutes.
5. Remove from the heat and cool slightly. Run the whizzer stick through the pot of sauce, ensuring the consistency is smooth. (You can also use a blender or food processor.)
6. When completely cool, transfer sauce into containers suitable for freezing.