Thursday, September 19, 2013

tomato sauce time!

Ava, age six, and her big sister Zoe, age almost nine, are major fans of Grandpa Pete's tomato sauces. Last week their family purchased a major amount of Early Girl tomatoes at their local farmer's market in San Mateo, and they proceeded to make their own sauce from one of Grandpa Pete's recipes. Because the tomatoes were so fresh and perfect and tasty, their mother opted for the purest of the sauces: Marcella #3. A key part of the tomato-sauce-making process is running the cooked tomatoes through a food mill (or Moulee for the French) as Ava is doing above.

The sauce is originally in one of the best single cookbooks ever written. Marcella Hazan's Classic Italian Cook Book (now out of print but you can get it, used, from Amazon). Marcella has three wonderful fresh tomato sauces in her book, and this one is, surprise! "Number Three" on the list.

The recipe is very simple. Take two pounds of tomatoes, quarter them, and cook them over a light heat (don't let them burn (maybe add a tablespoon of olive oil) covered, for ten minutes. Remove from heat and run them through the food mill a la Ava, using the middle size disc. Return the tomatoes to the pot, add six tablespoons of butter, one onion cut in half, and a teaspoon or so of salt. Cook at a steady simmer, uncovered, for thirty minutes. Remove from heat, take out the onion with a slotted spoon and toss it, taste for salt, and you are tomato sauce ready. You can go a step further and run this sauce back through the food mill, with the finest of the discs, if you wish.

Tomato sauces freeze perfectly. And there is nothing like adding a touch of sunshine and warmth to a bitter winter evening than serving your tomato sauce, direct from the freezer, on your favorite pasta. Grandpa Pete's web site: has all of these wonderful tomato sauce recipes. Or you can go directly to the sauce section: for all of the tomato sauces and a lot of other pasta sauce spectaculars like a wonderful variety of bolognese and the "best lamb ragu ever".

Do not let the fall tomato season get away without getting some home-made fresh tomato sauce into your freezer.