One of my great pleasures when the snow is on the ground is to open a jar of our tomatoes. We can tomatoes whole, make juice and prepare salsa and Lucy’s Basic Fresh Tomato Sauce. We use the sauce on spaghetti, pizza, lasagna, anything that calls for a jar of spaghetti-type sauce.
My friend Lucy gave me this recipe nearly eight years ago and I began freezing it then. But we began to have increased tomato gardening success and to realize we could use more of this yummy sauce, we started to can it. Just add a little lemon juice after it’s in the jar and it will keep with no problem.
One thing I’ve learned in making this sauce is that it cooks more quickly and more thickly if I remove the liquid from the tomatoes before throwing them into the pot. To prepare the tomatoes, we rinse them, score the top, drop them into boiling water for 30 – 60 seconds, then drop them into ice water. That makes it easy to peel the skin. Then I chop them, removing the seeds and inner jelly-like liquid, then put them into a mesh colander in the sink where more liquid will drain from them before I add them to the pot. My favorite type of tomatoe to use (although we use whatever we have) is the San Marzano, which grows larger than a Roma in my garden and has strong pulp but little liquid.
Lucy’s Basic Fresh Tomato Sauce
2 med. onions, chopped finely
4 cloves of garlic, minced or crushed
5 pounds (about 12 med.) firm, ripe tomatoes
1/3 c. olive oil
½ c. minced green onions, include some of green tops
1 green pepper, seeded and finely chopped
1 to 1 ½ tsp. salt
¾ tsp. pepper
½ tsp. anise seeds, crushed (optional-they have liquorish flavor)
1 Tbsp. oregano or Italian seasoning
¾ tsp. rosemary leaves, crushed
1 tsp. paprika
about 1 ¾ c. dry red wine, or to your taste
In large kettle, cook onions and garlic in olive oil over medium heat until golden, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, cut the tomatoes into eighths, or smaller if you like a finer sauce, and add to the pot along with the rest of the ingredients. Bring to boil and stir to break up tomatoes. Cover and reduce heat to simmer and cook for an hour. Remove cover and continue to boil gently until mixture reduces and thickens to your preference.