the tomatoes

Since I didn’t grow any tomatoes I knew I would need to find a good source for them in order to make my traditional pasta sauce for winter. A really good source. After all, I usually process upwards of 40lbs of tomatoes, and we usually run out of sauce by March.

pasta sauce a lot of tomatoes

So I put myself on the canning tomato list at Lewis Creek Farm. And when I got the call I drove an hour there (it’s an hour from my work, there’s a mountain ridge in the way…) to pick up my 75lbs of tomatoes.

pasta sauce tomatoes

On sunday I started processing tomatoes. I chopped them up and put them through the Squeezo*. The squeeze pulp and juice came out the other end.

pasta sauce goop

And I squeezo’ed and squeezo’d and squeezo’d some more.

And 2.5 hours later? I’d processed HALF my tomatoes. And I had more tomato goop than would fit into a 4 gallon pot. So I got that simmering, simmered it all evening, and got it low enough that I could add the 2 bottles of merlot** that I needed for this triple-batch recipe.

With the rest of the tomatoes back in the fridge, and the pot on the back burner, I went to bed. I let the whole mess simmer overnight. In the morning I got up and chopped herbs and added spices and drank tea.

pasta sauce herbs

And by lunchtime I had 14.5 pints of delicious, AMAZING herbed merlot pasta sauce. The best (most tiring?) part is that I need to do it all over again soon…

pasta sauce the sauce

*I still love my squeezo, still doing this product placement out of sheer love for the thing!

**This always leads to me wanting to walk into a store and ask for their two largest bottles of cheap merlot.

pasta sauce ingredients


5 responses to “the tomatoes

  1. Would you be kind enough to share the finer details of your recipe for this wonderful pasta sauce please? Sort of got the basics and suspect that the herbs are spring onions and maybe basil as well as the garlic??? As I am down in New Zealand, what is that marvellous Squeezo* you show us please. Haven’t seen this in New Zealand. We had an awlful summer for tomatoes here over summer, hardly anyone managed to get their crops to ripen before the first frosts were upon us. Home made Pasta sauce is magic. it is a huge effort now but the pleasure when you open each jar and smell the result of that labour makes it worth every moment

    • I admit that I change up the herbs and spices every time. But here’s the basic recipe:

      Ingredients: 5qts processed tomatoes (flesh and juice) 2/3 of a large onion, diced 1c chives, chopped small 2 cloves garlic, minced 1.5c scallions, chopped small 1c basil, chopped small 1 bottle merlot 2/3c brown sugar olive oil salt, pepper, thyme, oregano, rosemary to taste 8 pint sized canning jars

      Recipe: In the bottom of your biggest pot saute the onions and garlic in olive oil until they’re soft. Add scallions, chives, basil, and any other fresh herbs/veggies and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the processed tomatoes. Bring everything up to a simmer. Add the entire bottle of merlot, any dried spices and the sugar. Simmer. Simmersimmersimmer. The sauce has to simmer down to sauce consistency. Basically you’re evaporating an entire bottle of wine plus all the extra tomato juices, so be patient. Once it’s at a good sauce consistency add the salt and pepper (and any other spice you think you need more of) to taste.

      Ladle sauce into pint jars, leave a 1/2 inch of head space. Process for 35 minutes in boiling water bath canner.


      • Thank you so very much. it does sound delicious :) Hope we have a good tomato season here in New Zealand this coming summer. so good that spring is here and seeing the blossoms on the trees and the tender new green leaves, a beautiful time of year.

  2. Something about the addition of cheap wine to a pasta sauce that makes it “just right”. Food for thought… (hah! pun!).

    • Yay puns! I’ve heard the bit about cooking with the best wine you can afford. But what with the tomatoes and all the other spices that’s really not necessary here. The wine just adds depth and sweetness. But it really should be a merlot, we tried a cabernet once and it wasn’t as good.

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