What to do with all those tomatoes? Sauce!

Tomatoes, butter and salt simmer for a quick sauce. (Photos: Debbie Arrington)

Two pounds of tomatoes, any size, make 2 cups of sauce.
Recipe: Easiest, fastest fresh tomato sauce you'll ever make

By Debbie Arrington

Sacramento gardeners love growing tomatoes. We love watching them ripen on the vine and that first bite of a summer beefsteak.

But then those beloved tomatoes start ripening en masse. The kitchen counter is quickly covered with tomatoes awaiting a purpose. And not every tomato was meant for a BLT. What to do with all those toms, especially the little ones? Make sauce.

This is the fastest, easiest fresh tomato sauce you'll ever make; no peeling required. It's adaptable to the number of tomatoes you have on hand and works well with all sorts of tomatoes, from cherry-size to 1-pound beefsteaks.
It also freezes well for later use and is very adaptable.

First, here's your basic tomato math: One pound tomatoes yields one cup sauce (depending on thickness). Adjust the recipe according to the amount of tomatoes you need to process. The more tomatoes, the longer the cooking time, so if you have a lot of tomatoes, limit it to 3- or 4-pound batches. Two pounds of tomatoes fits easily into a large skillet; 4 pounds needs a larger heavy pot.

This flexible recipe also works with smaller amounts, too. One cup of sauce is enough for two servings of pasta or topping a large pizza. Experiment with different varieties. All yellow tomatoes make a creamy yellow sauce. Juliet (a popular mini-Roma) and Sweet Chelsea (an over-sized cherry) were used in this example. Here's the basic recipe:

Use the rough-textured sauce on pasta, or smooth it in the blender
 for other uses.
Easy fresh tomato sauce
Makes about 2 cups

2 pounds fresh tomatoes
2 tablespoons butter, margarine or olive oil
Salt to taste (about 1/2 teaspoon)

Wash tomatoes. Core larger tomatoes as necessary. Rough-chop tomatoes into 1-inch pieces. In a large heavy skillet, melt butter or margarine or heat oil. Add tomatoes.

Over medium heat, sauté tomatoes, salting lightly. That starts to draw out the juices. Cover the pan and reduce the heat to low. Simmer tomatoes, stirring occasionally, until they break down and get very soft and saucy, about 15 minutes. Cook a few minutes longer uncovered to thicken slightly, if desired.

At that point, the sauce is done, but rough-textured. (It's great for pasta.)

For a smoother sauce, briefly process in the food processor or blender. The skins will totally disappear and any seeds will almost disappear, too. The final sauce will be thick and smooth. Use immediately or refrigerate for up to four days. May be frozen for up to one year.


Did you miss this?