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Tomato Sauce From Fresh Tomatoes -- Help, Please!


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Tomato Sauce From Fresh Tomatoes -- Help, Please!

DanaB | Aug 24, 2004 12:41 AM

Hi all! I'm experiencing a joyful abundence of tomatoes, from my own garden, but largely from that of my brother, who has an optimum growing area and great patience. Every week I visit and end up with a grocery bag of tomatoes -- luscious beefsteaks, lovely cherries, and an abundence of plum tomatoes (he's not much for the heirloom varieties, but the results of his efforts are wonderful nevertheless). I've found delicious uses for the beefsteaks and cherries, in salads, sandwiches and the like, but am struggling with the plums. In the past, when lucky enough to have an abundence of plum tomatoes, I've tended to make homemade "tomato paste" -- my version of a tomato concentrate made from peeled, seeded plums, cooked for a long while into a reduction that can be frozen in ice cube trays, and then popped out mid-winter, when the rich reduction of tomato flavor is very welcomed :-)

However, this week and last week, I've experimented with a short-cooked tomato sauce to serve that same night. When I make tomato sauce from the can, I usually start with a light mincing of garlic and onion, sauteed in olive oil, then dump in the can of whole peeled tomatoes, mashed a bit, then saute until the liquid boils off, about 30 minutes or so. I tried this method with the fresh plum tomatoes, skinned and seeded (using a method combining those of Julia Child and Marcella Hazan ;-), and they throw off so much water that a short simmer won't do. Both times I finished the dish with the slightly watery sauce, because of time constraints, and the sauce ended up with great flavor, so neither effort was wasted, but the texture of the sauce just wasn't what I was hoping for.

That was the long way around to getting to my question, but hope it gives the background needed for the answer -- with fresh tomatoes, is the only way to enjoy them in their essence to make a simple "pomidori crudi" -- i.e. throw in fresh, chopped tomatoes, and only cook them for a second with basil, garlic and oil? But then, Marcella Hazan recommends fresh over canned in all her preparations! What am I missing? What's the best way to make a tomato sauce with fresh, as vs. canned, tomatoes, and end up with a thick rich sauce, that isn't watery?

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