Homemade San Marzano Sauce


It's officially the end of garden fresh veggies.

As of last night I have finally cooked or eaten, all of the hot peppers, tomatoes, and the lone eggplant that were produced from my fire escape or my Dad's suburban oasis. Earlier this week, I plucked what I think will be the final tomatoes from the fire escape. I didn't keep track but I think I ended up with a dozen tomatoes from the fire escape, despite the rough start with the blossom end rot. I think I'm prepared to do battle with San Marzanos again next year having learned a few lessons.


A little part of me wishes I had been more creative with the final pile of tomatoes but I'll be excited when I get to crack open a jar of this garden fresh sauce in the middle of January. When Summer turns to Fall and Fall turns to Winter... I race into soup season or meals that usually require jars of crushed / diced / whole tomatoes. Having made sauce twice now, I will have a greater appreciation for each jar that I open. Nothing quite like making things from scratch ... and appreciating all of your ingredients.

A slight review of all the tomato recipes from this season? Put them in a Tomato Corn Galette, served them under some roasted pesto crusted cod, in a tomato pancetta quiche, as an easy simple summer sauce, or just plain ole roasted on some naan "pizza".

The last time I made sauce I used a food mill and it was good, not challenging, but a bit messier than I was interested in. When you are making tomato sauce on a Saturday night, you don't want to spend the rest of the night cleaning seeds out of a food mill... you want to spend it eating Dove Promises under your favorite blanket watching "The Cosby Show". 

There are probably many personal tastes that go into whether or not a tomato sauce should include the skins. Given that the internet appeared to be split down the middle, I tossed caution to the wind and let the skins stay. Plus, it was a million times easier. This recipe literally took about 40 minutes total and that included pulling my immersion blender out of the closet and putting it back in. 

Here's how it goes.

(Step 1) Heat 2-4 T of Olive Oil in a stockpot or saucepan. Add the onion, cook on medium with the lid to avoid browning. Stir once or twice while onions are softening (5 minutes?) and then add garlic for the last 1-2 minutes. 

(Step 2)  Halve and quarter all your tomatoes and add them to the pot. This includes all their juices, skins, and seeds... everything. Season with salt and pepper. 
(Step 3) Set the heat to high and the timer to 20 minutes. You'll want to stir occasionally because as the sauce reduces, it'll be more prone to sticking to the bottle of the pot. Not good. 

(Step 4) Depending on how juicy your sauce is, you might want to cook the sauce for more time... but I stopped at 20 minutes. Check for seasonings as well.
(Step 5) Most people would tell you to let the sauce cool before you blend it... but I'm not most people and I hate waiting. The immersion blender wasn't a perfect solution for this honestly, I think a real blender is the right solution. The immersion blender did work just fine but some of the chunks of tomatoes were a smidge harder to work through.
(Step 6) That's it. You can eat or store it at this point. I was planning on freezing my sauce but figured I'd attempt the "upside down canning method" that I've tried successfully a few times... and it worked. Maybe next year I'll buy a canning setup but essentially you just need to add the hot ingredients to a jar, seal the jar, and flip it upside down to cool. When the contents have cooled over night, you will be able to test and see that the jar has sealed itself via that little button thing on the lid. If it pops or snaps, not sealed. If it doesn't, sealed.

Shopping List
1 large Onions chopped roughly into smaller pieces
4 lbs San Marzano Tomatoes, sliced lengthwise, then into quarters
2-4 cloves chopped garlic
Salt and Black Pepper
Olive Oil 

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