Thursday, August 5, 2010

What to do with all those Romas....

I have a garden. You remember all those early blog posts when I showed you pictures of baby tomato and cucumber plants, right?

Well, it's been quite prolific this past month. And when Roma tomatoes come in, they come in force. Dozens at a time.

What's a girl to do with all those tomatoes?

Make marinara sauce, of course!

Here's what you need:

12-14 Roma tomatoes, an onion, parsley, tomato paste, ground oregano, basil, garlic, salt and pepper.

If you don't have fresh tomatoes, canned crushed tomatoes work just as well! I've tried it both ways.

If you do have some whole tomatoes to use, you have a bit of work ahead of you.

You have to peel and seed those suckers!

Bring a pot of water to a boil....

And throw the tomatoes in. Let them bob up and down for about 20 seconds....

Then throw them in an ice bath.

The skin will come right off!

Once that's done, chop them in half....

And pull out all the insides. They would really water down the sauce, and you don't want that.

In the meantime, have the onion cooking in a big pot on the stove.

So now you have a bowl full of peeled and seeded tomatoes.

You can throw them in a food processor, but I prefer a slightly more rustic method.
Hands on.
This gets messy. You definitely can't answer the phone during this step!
It's also difficult to take a picture of this step. Yikes.

Crush them until there aren't any big pieces left....

And dump in the rest of the ingredients (the exact measurements are at the end of this post).
Pour it all into the pot with the onion.

Let this simmer for about 20 minutes, then add a few splashes of white wine. I didn't actually have any open bottles when I made this particular batch, so I left this out - but you shouldn't!
One very important thing to remember when cooking with tomatoes - they are really acidic, so you should add some of this VERY secret ingredient:

Brown sugar! It really balances out the acid.
Make sure it's really well incorporated, and once it is, you have a delicious marinara sauce, ready to take on the world!

I like making a batch of meatballs and tossing them in at this point. I use this recipe by Alton Brown. I modify it slightly by using 3/4 lb. of ground pork sausage and 3/4 lb. ground round and not use lamb. I also omit the spinach. Absolutely delicious.
Marinara Sauce
12-14 roma tomatoes, peeled and seeded OR 2 14-oz cans stewed tomatoes
1 can tomato paste (use two cans if you opt for using fresh tomatoes)
4 tbsp fresh chopped parsley
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp ground oregano
1 tsp sweet basil
1 tsp salt
1/3 cup finely diced onion
1/2 cup white wine
2 tbsp brown sugar
ground black pepper

1 comment:

  1. Looks yummy! I've also heard that carrots are great for reducing acid in things like this. Of course, brown sugar tastes better so I'd stick with that. Realistically I'd much rather have a spoonful of brown sugar (yes, that's awful) over a carrot any day. :-)