Bad week for blogging! I just haven’t had time. I’ve been getting my domestication on, y’all!! But the good news is, I have successfully figured out the art of making pasta sauce from scratch. I wouldn’t go as far as to say I’ve “mastered” that art, but I think I did ok.
The most noteworthy thing I learned about sauce making is, it’s A LOT of work for a relatively small amount of product. I seriously don’t know how pasta sauce is so cheap at the store. Mass manufacturers either use child laborers or they don’t use real tomatoes to make the sauce.
To give you some small idea, following is a recap of the process that yielded four stinkin’ quarts of tomatoes. I had enough tomatoes (about 40 pounds) to make two batches, so I got a total of eight quarts for all of the work last week.
First, I started with a boatload of tomatoes. The recipe I used called for 15 cups of chopped tomatoes and I have no idea how many whole tomatoes it takes to get 15 cups of chopped so I just started with boatload, as I was pretty confident it would require more than a crapload.
Wait, scratch that. I started with a boatload of tomatoes. And bottle of wine.
The most time-consuming and messiest part of making sauce is peeling the tomatoes. This is where the wine comes in. Taking a few tomatoes at a time, you put them in boiling water just long enough to take a sip or two of wine.
Then, just as you start to see the skin peeling away, you transfer the tomatoes to ice-cold water and the skin just falls off. Little known fact: if you pour boiling water over your feet, the skin falls right off in a similar fashion. Trust me on this. I’ve got scars on both feet and painful memories of spending the summer of 1990 on a couch with my feet wrapped in gauze to prove it. Hence, this part of the process weirded me out a bit.
Once the skin is off the tomatoes, you can either chop them up or blend them depending on whether you want chunky sauce or smooth sauce, and how motivated you are to add another step. Because I’m lazy, I went with chunky. So, i just cut each tomato into about eight pieces. Then I threw it all into the crockpot.
At this point, you just add the ingredients you want included veggies, meat and any spices or herbs you liked. This was a great excuse to use up my plentiful supply of fresh basil. This is the recipe I started with but modified quite a bit.
The second batch, a veggie sauce, I winged completely and just started adding stuff and taste testing and adding more stuff as needed. It was kind of fun to go all Iron Chef and act like I knew what I was doing by tasting and saying things like, “I think it needs more garlic!”
With the amount of tomatoes we came home with from the Funny Farm, I thought I would be able to make enough sauce to freeze and last the entire winter. I guess we do have enough for the winter if we cut our pasta consumption down to no more than twice a month!
I had to laugh when I posted something on Facebook about making sauce and a friend said if I had a few extra jars of sauce, she would happily take them. I tol her later I didn’t have a few “extra” I had a few TOTAL. But I gave her a quart anyway and told her she had to eat every last bite. If someone offers you homemade sauce as a gift, first of all accept the gift then consider yourself loved.