Saturday, March 13, 2010
Tomato harvest: cooking tomatoes down into a pasta sauce
I've been using the tomatoes from my garden in plenty of dishes lately, but have still ended up with a huge amount - the plants were really productive! I saved up 4kg of large and small tomatoes and cooked them down into a pasta sauce to be frozen for later use.
This is the 4kg of tomatoes, freshly washed:
I heated up a few tablespoons of olive oil in a large stock pot, added a few chopped-up cloves of garlic and cooked them until nicely fragrant and soft. I then added some chopped up spring onion and chilli and cooked them for a couple of minutes. Finally, I added the tomatoes. I didn't bother dicing or prepping the small tomatoes at all (other than removing the stems, of course!), but did chop the larger ones into quarters. I threw these in and added a couple of cups of water, a handful of fresh basil and a small amount of salt and pepper.
I let it simmer away for a few hours, softening the tomatoes and reducing the liquid. After an hour or so, I used my potato masher to break up the tomatoes a bit.
I tasted and adjusted the seasonings, adding some more salt and pepper, a dash of sugar and a small glug of Worchestershire sauce. I didn't want to over-season, but just keep it simple - when I use the sauce for future cooking I can get the seasoning right for the dish it's being used in.
Once the liquid had reduced quite a bit (by almost a third) I strained the liquid into another saucepan, and put the skins and seeds through my blender (in batches). The pureed skins and seeds went back into the liquid and I let it cook for another hour or so.
Finally, when I was happy with the consistency, I divided the mix into containers for freezing.
These will be used in future bolognaise sauces for pasta, lasagna, or whatever else I come up with!