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Basic Tomato Sauce

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Although tomatoes are not in season at this point in early spring. We feel that we need to publish this recipe because it will come in handy for an array of different recipes in our upcoming posts. We call this a basic tomato sauce due to the few ingredients that it takes to prepare. In this recipe for basic tomato sauce, we used Roma tomatoes. Also known as paste tomatoes, or plum tomatoes are oval-shaped and smaller than beefsteaks. They also have a lower water content compared to other types, with an almost chewy flesh—making them our first choice for sauce-making. These are the tomatoes you’ll see everywhere in Italy, the most famous type being the San Marzano. All other kinds of tomatoes will work great too! The simplicity of this recipe does a great job of highlighting the fresh taste of the tomatoes. On the day that we last made this recipe we went to the local Amish market and found a great price on an end of the season 20-pound box of Roma tomatoes.

Next thing ya know we are freezing tomato sauce for the upcoming fall and winter meals. This recipe highlights the excellent taste of the Roma tomatoes or any other tomato you may find at its peak ripeness. We truly don’t have a lot to say about this recipe except how versatile it is. We make this basic tomato sauce recipe about two times a year all depending on how fast we use up the last batch. You may also use a good quality whole canned tomato. On a couple different occasions, we have used Certified San Marzano Tomatoes brand. We highly recommend this brand, and the sauce turned out just as good as using fresh tomatoes. You will find that when you make this tomato sauce you can use it as-is, in its simplicity over fresh pasta and torn fresh basil as a light meal. Or you can add different seasonings to adapt it to any recipe that calls for a red sauce like meat sauce for pasta, pizza, hotdish, even tomato soup! I (Blondie) have been known to eat the sauce directly out of the pot! The uses for this tomato sauce are endless, and it all starts with this basic recipe.


10 lbs. of Tomatoes

4 nice size Onions

4 sticks of Unsalted Butter

Salt to taste


Remember to inspect your tomatoes and remove any blemishes, soft spots, or rotten spots before washing them free from dirt.

Using the correct knife for the slicing, dicing, or peeling jobs sure does make a difference when it comes to executing a culinary job. One of our most used knifes in our knife block is our WUSTHOF Classic “5 tomato knife. This knife has a nice, serrated edge to ensure the knife blade does not slip off the skin of the tomato when cutting. Another feature of this knife is that it has a fork-shaped tip for coring not only tomatoes but strawberries or any other soft fruit or vegetable.

The box of tomatoes pictured below are Roma tomatoes that we purchased at the Amish market.

A nice size stock pot will work very well for blanching the tomatoes in well salted boiling water for a few minutes until you are able to see the skins of the tomatoes are starting to split and shrivel. At that point you must remove the tomatoes and immerse the split tomatoes in a large bowl of iced water. By doing this it will stop the cooking process of the tomato and make the tomato easier to handle in your hands, so you are able to peel the outer skin of the tomato to expose the flesh.

A great tool to use for the task of transferring the tomatoes from the hot, boiling water to the ice bath is a Spider Strainer Skimmer. You could also use a pair of tongs, but spider strainer enables you to retrieve more than one at a time.

If you choose to use canned tomatoes to make this basic tomato sauce, we recommend using Certified San Marzano Tomatoes brand, the sauce turned out just as good as using fresh tomatoes.

We used two white onions and two yellow onions for this recipe. Why, you ask? We like the different taste profile the two onions give in this very basic recipe. White onions possess a higher sugar content making them a sweeter and milder tasting onion as compared to the yellow onion which has a stronger more pungent onion taste. Using the two together in this sauce, we gain the best flavor profiles from the two types of onions.

At this point in the preparation of the basic tomato sauce the tomatoes should be skinned and ready to be chopped into smaller pieces. In a large stock pot place the four sticks of unsalted butter and the chopped onions over a medium heat to sweat the onions. Stir the onions occasionally to ensure no caramelization of the onions on the bottom of your stock pot. After a few minutes of the onions being sweated you may go ahead and add the chopped tomatoes. Keep your heat at a low to medium setting and let the onions, butter and tomatoes cook down for a very slow but steady simmer for forty-five minutes.

After about forty-five minutes the onions and tomatoes should be at a nice soft consistency. At this time, it would be great if you have a hand blender to emulsify the tomatoes, onions and butter to your desired consistently in the same pot as what you cook them in. We usually blend the mixture until smooth with no chunks of tomato or onion. If you do not have a hand mixe,r carefully transfer the cooked mixture to a blender and blend to desired consistency.

We have found it freezes well, that is why we make a rather large batch at a time so we can freeze and use later. And the Blade does not know how to cook small batches of anything!!

Well, there you have it! We hope you enjoy making this basic tomato sauce. This sauce will be used in upcoming recipes on our blog. Please let us know the many ways you intend to use it. We would love to see pictures of your creations.