Mariooch’s Homemade Tomato Sauce
Making homemade tomato sauce is a labor of love. If you are going to do it the right way, you have to put in the time and it is well worth it. If you want to cheat on this recipe, then do not press out the tomato seeds, but I will tell you that the quality of the sauce is much better without the seeds. The seeds are very bitter and change the taste of the sauce. However, I have made this sauce many times and have included the seeds so if you are “pressed” for time skip that part.
Start by heating olive oil in a large pot, (be sure you have a lid that fits it) maybe 5-6 tablespoons. Take the skins off of 4-5 cloves of garlic and heat in the pot. They should get very brown, and darker is fine. Right before they are ready to burn, take them out, and disregard them. Turn off the heat. It provides a good flavor base for your sauce. (A trick someone who owned a restaurant in Italy for 25 years taught me.)
Start blending your tomatoes. I have a strainer that goes over my sink, so I put a clean large, wide bowl under it and add the blended tomatoes to the strainer. I take the back of a spoon and start pressing down on the tomatoes until just the seeds and some pulp are left. This process takes about 45 minutes to one hour. You are standing the whole time, so at least it’s good exercise! And you’ll have a delicious sauce to enjoy. So get to work.
Dice up the ½ of yellow onion and add 2-3 cloves of whole garlic, add to the pot you cooked the garlic in and heat until translucent, keep an eye on it because you don’t want these to burn or get brown only translucent. Then, add the freshly pressed tomato sauce in the blender with a handful of basil, the cooked onion and garlic (not the burned garlic, that was tossed) and blend well.
Put this combination into the pot and heat it. You can add the salt, and sugar. Then, add the bay leaves. Add ½ teaspoon of crushed oregano (squeeze it in your fingers to wake up the flavor). Add a few large squeezes of the tomato paste, more if you like it thick.(I like to use tomato paste in a tube) Add about ¼ cup of olive oil. Also, add freshly grated parmesan cheese, maybe a ¼ cup up to ½ cup. I always taste it. And typically add more salt and maybe one more pinch of sugar, but do not add too much sugar it will ruin the sauce. If you do, add too much sugar, just add more grated cheese to balance out the flavor. Let this simmer for about two hours. It always reduces to about 3-4 quarts. I take the bay leaves out after two hours and let it continue to cook on low, but after 2 hours it is ready.