You’ll have to excuse my over zealous title with this post but I wanted to be clear. This isn’t tomato sauce (aka ketchup) that you have on a sausage. This is pasta sauce, made with fresh tomatoes. Just like I said above.
Now that we’ve cleared that up, let’s get cracking.
Step 1: Buy a heap of fresh tomatoes, zucchinis (courgettes), garlic and basil. You are also going to need bottles, jars and preserve covers for the jars. All ingredients and quantities are listed at the end of this post.
Step 2: Get together some good friends (I recruited some usual suspects: Tenille, my brother (Tenille’s boyfriend), and my boyfriend. Previously all featured in my fruit mince pies adventures). Wine and cheese are optional, but highly recommended.
Step 3: Grate your zucchini (courgettes).
Step 4: Begin removing the skins from your tomatoes. It’s best to remove them or your sauce will be tougher and chewy.
An easy way to peel tomatoes it to cut a cross at the bottom of the tomato skins, as shown below.
Then place them in a colander over boiling water in small batches. 2-3 minutes is usually enough.
Your previously made slits will help you peel the skin off.
After you have removed the skin, chop them in half, cut out the stem at the top and remove the seeds. The seeds make the sauce bitter. Then repeat, repeat and repeat until all the tomatoes are done. See why you need the wine?
Step 5: Heat the olive oil in a large heavy based pan and sauté the garlic until golden, about one minute. Add the zucchinis (courgettes), tomatoes and their juices carefully (they will splatter).
You don’t need to overcook it. Just bring it to boiling to sanitise it and cook down the tomatoes. We’ll add the basil and seasoning towards the end. Simmer briskly, stirring occasionally until you have thick, chunky sauce.
Step 6: Start sanitising those jars/bottles and lids. Either the sanitise function of the dishwasher, boiling hot water or in the oven at about 120C. Don’t put the lids in the oven if they have plastic on them. Don’t be that person…
Step 7: Add you spices, and salt and pepper to taste. Just before you’re ready to bottle it add your basil and stir through. Now, at this point we decided to stick blend it. Although it gave it a beautiful consistency, it also aerated it and made it the orange-y colour below. See before and after shots.
We were using two pots. The one at the front has been blended, the one at the back has not.
This was our finished product.
Next time we plan to use a potato masher instead to keep it a little thicker and less aerated. It’s a personal choice on how you like your sauce. Now get ready for the messy party.
Step 8: Start the bottling. Use a funnel. Use oven mits, your jars/bottles should be hot while you’re doing this for sterilisation reasons.
Fill your jars or bottles until they are 2 cm from the top.
At this point I should say that if you are using a jars you should fill them, then put them in a bath of hot water and use jar seals to ensure you get a good vacuum seal and that it will store well (jar seals = square transparent preserve covers you see on jam jars). Follow the instructions on your packet of preserve covers. You can get plenty more information from a quick google.
I should also say that we did not do this. Instead we just put them in the bottles you see here and ensured a good seal was established. We ate it up to one month later and no one got sick. I also have friends in Western Australia (it’s really hot there) who keep theirs in a pantry for months and it’s still fine.
But I’ll leave that decision in your capable hands.
Then enjoy! Store it. Eat it. Enjoy it. You will love yourself for making this.
A good slug of olive oil (5 tablespoons or so)
10 kilograms ripe tomatoes
8 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
5 small zucchinis (courgettes), grated
2 teaspoons dried chilli
2 teaspoons marjoram
4 large handfuls basil, ripped or cut up
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons vinegar
Freshly ground salt and pepper to taste
You will also need
Jars or bottles
Preserve covers for jars
Healthy: Yes, how can it not be? Unless you start randomly adding lard or something…
Gluten free: Yes
Storage: In a cool place
Source: I used a book kindly gifted/won from Patty’s Food called My Calabria. A beautiful book of Italian food, I hope it encourages me to branch out away from my sweet baked goods more often.