Tomato Sauce


Tomatoes fresh from the garden for Tomato Sugo

Basic Tomato Sauce

If you are growing your own tomatoes, sometimes you do end up with way more than you can eat... Making a rich Tomato Sugo (sauce) is a great way to capture the smell of summer in a jar.  This recipe makes enough sauce for bottling so that you have good quality tomato sauce on hand all year.

Tomato Sugo - Rich tomato sauce

3.5 kg of very ripe tomatoes

3 large Spanish onions very finely diced

1 head of oven-roasted garlic

3 celery sticks, very finely diced

1 teaspoon of salt

3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

2 glasses Merlot or full-bodied red wine

500ml very good vegetable or chicken stock

½ teaspoon of sugar

olive oil

1 tablespoon very finely chopped basil

1 tablespoon very finely chopped rosemary

1 bay leaf

grated nutmeg

pepper to taste

To prepare a whole head of garlic : drizzle with olive oil, salt pepper and a little honey wrap in foil, and bake in a hot oven until golden brown.  This method produces a very mellow, sweet garlic flavour which does not overpower the main dish.

To prepare tomatoes, score the base of the whole tomato and plunge into hot water for about 30 seconds. Drain water and peel away skins.  In a large heavy bottomed pot sauté onions in olive oil until translucent but not browned.  Add celery, garlic herbs, nutmeg, salt pepper and sugar and combine well.  Deglaze pan with vinegar, adding tomatoes before liquid fully evaporates.  Allow tomatoes to reduce down for a few minutes before adding wine and stock.

Reduce heat and allow to cook to desired consistency - can be bottled as a thin sugo or allowed to reduce down for a thick sauce.  Should yield at least 6 medium sized jars of Basic Tomato Sauce.  Can be stored for up to a year unopened, once opened use within a week.

Variations :  Chillies, anchovies or vegetables can be added with the tomatoes to make a chunky vegetable version.  When adding soft vegetables like zucchini or aubergine, reduce stock to 300mls.