Monday, July 29, 2013

Nadine's Tomato Sauce: One sauce, Many Uses

Homemade tomato sauce
I use tomato sauce more than the average family because our favorite food is from Middle Eastern and Italian cuisines. Both cuisines call for a tremendous amounts of tomato sauce and I have a great tomato sauce recipe that I use for pasta dishes, pizza, lasagna, eggplant dishes etc...
You are going to say that there is a big array of canned and jarred tomato sauces ready for use. My answer to your question is "Do you know me?" I like to make everything from scratch if possible, besides, I find that the store bought tomato sauce lacks depth and flavor. I never met one that I liked. Let me know if you have a favorite.
I use tomatoes when they are in season for my sauce or canned diced tomatoes the rest of the year.
We also use the tomatoes from our garden when in season. Delicious! I talked about them here.
Do yo know that canned diced tomatoes are great to use when tomatoes are not in season? They are because they are canned at their peak and in season. I buy the Kirkland brand, it is organic diced tomatoes which is affordable and tastes great. (Disclaimer: I was not paid by Costco to make such statement, I really love this brand of tomatoes...In fact, they don't know that I exist)
Organic canned diced tomatoes are great for making sauces
2 cans of organic diced tomatoes
5-6 cloves of garlic
1/4 cup of olive oil
5 leaves of basil leaves
1/2 teaspoon of dried oregano, if using fresh add 1 tablespoon
1/2 teaspoon of dried thyme, if using fresh add 1 tablespoon
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/4 teaspoon of pepper
2 tablespoons of tomato paste
1 tablespoon of pepper paste

If using fresh tomatoes, score the tomatoes as shown in the below picture

Place the the tomatoes in boiling water for 1 minute. This will allow you to easily peel off the tomato skins. Peel the skin off and dice.
Drain the canned diced tomatoes and reserve the liquid.
Place the diced tomatoes in a microwave proof bowl or dish. I like to use the 8 by 8 inches pyrex square.
Finely chop the garlic and add to the tomatoes
Add the rest of the ingredients except the tomato paste.

using grape tomatoes
Mix well and place in the microwave about about 10 minutes until the tomatoes are roasted and liquid reduced.
Roasted tomatoes, using canned tomatoes
Now you are probably wondering what do with the reserved liquid. Depending on the mixture and the intended use of the sauce, I add the liquid accordingly.

In case I am making sauce for pizza, I add a little of the liquid to the roasted tomatoes before blending.
In case I am making sauce for pasta or a middle eastern dish I add all the liquid to the roast tomatoes before blending.
At this point, I like to add tomato paste to intensify the tomato flavor.
Place the tomato paste and the mixture in a blender with necessary liquid and blend until desired texture.

When I am using the sauce for a middle Eastern dish, I just omit the basil leaves and I add a tablespoon of pepper paste which is Turkish paste that you can find in Middle Eastern groceries.


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