Tasty Tomato/Pasta Sauce
I enjoy taking time over the weekend to make a preserve of some kind. Whether it be pickles, jams or chutney's, for me, it's very relaxing producing yummy jarred treats from scratch. Last weekend I decided to make tomato/pasta sauce. No tinned tomatoes or tubes of puree. Just fresh ingredients, my stock pot, preserve jars, freezer bags, time and myself. It's was such a rewarding feeling so much so, I imagined myself in a rustic kitchen in a plush region of Italy gathering all the flavoursome ingredients and cooking away while admiring the breath taking scenery. I've created a scale down sauce that is vegetable based but, pancetta or smoked bacon can be added for extra depth of flavour (should be added with onions). My son loves this sauce and prefers it over the store bought tomato/pasta sauce. There is a significant difference in taste as the fresh sauce has a cleaner yet vibrant flavour on the palette. It's also great having control and knowing what you're putting in your body.
2 1/2kg mixed plum and cherry tomatoes, 60ml olive oil, 1 large onion minced, 4 oak smoked cloves grated garlic, 50g dehydraded porcini mushrooms (sliced after rehydrated) and stock from mushrooms, 1 carrot finely diced, 1 stick of celery finely diced, 1/2 red pepper (red bell pepper) finely diced,1 glass of good quality white wine, 1-1 1/2 tsp sea salt, 1 tsp ground black pepper, 1 tsp oregano, 5 leaves of fresh basil, leaves from 1 sprig of fresh thyme, 1 1/2 Fehmalee's Kitchen Natural Flavour Enhancer, 1/2 cup freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano
In a bowl add mushrooms and enough water to just cover them. Set aside for 10 minutes for mushrooms to rehydrate. Cut small x on top of each tomato and drop in boiling water for 10 seconds then place in ice cold water to allow skin to peel easily. Once all the tomatoes are peeled and deseeded, chop tomatoes and set aside. Under medium heat, add olive oil to your stock pot and simmer onions, garlic, mushrooms, carrot, red pepper and celery until the onions are tender. Then add tomatoes, oregano, basil, thyme leaves, sea salt, black pepper and 1 tsp of flavour enhancer. After 6 minutes, add the mushroom stock and simmer under low heat stirring occasionally. After one hour add wine and parmigiano-reggiano cheese and remaining 1/2 tesp of flavour enhancer. Stir and allow to cook for a remaining 1-2 hours or until sauce has started to darken. Remove from heat and blend sauce to desired consistency.
I like to fill one jar for immediate use (stores for a week in fridge) and freeze the remaining sauce in individual freezer bags.