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    « Eggplant challenge(d) | Main | Pumpkin Pie: Sanity is Overrated »

    October 05, 2009


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    Beth Schillaci

    Thanks for sharing your story. I now have a much better appreciation for the jarred tomato sauce my mother-in-law gives us. I don't think I could tackle that project.

    Cathy Bruce

    I love "Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone" too. However, I've had the same problems with her homemade tomato sauces. Seedy, watery tomato soup describes most of my efforts, too. And don't get me started on the food mill I bought this year. Apparently it can do seedy or chunky, but not both. I didn't get any on the ceiling though. :)

    I'm starting to think plum tomatoes really are the way to go for sauce. Plus, I did figure out that doubling the recipe means that it will take at least twice as long to cook down. My favorite sauce (from Marchella Hazan's "Essentials of Italian Cooking")takes 2 lbs. of skinned tomatoes, 2 to 4 T. butter, half of a peeled (uncut) onion and a tsp. of salt. Cook for about a half an hour (crushing and stirring with a wooden spoon) or until it's as thick as you'd like. Remove onion and season with salt and pepper Especially good on gnocchi with parmesan cheese.

    Amy P.

    Wow, what a project! I was toying with buying 25 lbs. of Roma tomatoes from my CSA farm in August, but in the end I couldn't muster the energy to take on that project.

    I feel for you attempting this during the workweek; I know because I've done stuff like that myself and it's enough to prompt insanity. It's pretty frustrating when the cooking time ends up substantially longer than you think, especially when it happens on a work night. Kudos to you for using up all of your tomatoes, though, and persevering on your quest.

    I've pondered tomato cooking issues myself based on my own trials in the kitchen. It seems like the water content varies dramatically depending on which types of tomatoes you use, which could explain why some sauces turn out so watery. (Or why when I made ratatouille with Roma tomatoes in August, there wasn't enough liquid.) Like Cathy says, maybe plum tomatoes are the key to creating a thick tomato sauce.


    Am catching up on my reading (knee replacement) and noted the Geek's remarks on your tomato sauce problem.
    There is a rule (unwritten, I am beginning to understand) that you only make tomato sauce with Roma tomatoes. All the others have too much or way too much liquid and would take so long to reduce that it could alter the taste of the resulting sauce. I always plant a few Romas to serve that purpose.
    Don't give up on the sauce. With the right ingredients you can do a very good job.


    How discouraging! I'm glad I didn't read this before attempting my own yesterday! So here's what I did differently: I put the tomatoes in the boiling water, then an ice bath, then peeled. then cored them dumping all the seeds and discarded cores in a strainer over a bowl to collect the juice. All the flesh went in another bowl. I ran the flesh through the food processor, roughly, I didn't puree it, just made a more spaghetti sauce like consistency. Then cooked onions, carrots and celery for ~10 min, added the tomatoes and simmered them ~45 min. I added in some of the tomato juice I had strained out to thin it out and still had a lot of juice left that I just threw out (I didn't know what I'd do with it). The sauce was delicious. I started with 12 pounds of tomatoes and ended up with about 2 quarts of sauce. Not a ton, but enough to freeze some. Oh and at the end I ran the immersion blender through it, so there were no chunks of carrot or celery, all smooth. I used this recipe from Smitten Kitchen: http://smittenkitchen.com/2010/08/fresh-tomato-sauce/

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