Countless homemade comfort food recipes – especially many rice and beans – call for a small 8 ounce can of plain tomato sauce. However, upon reading the labels on the cans, pretty much all brands seem to have some trace of “spices”, herbs, or even red coloring. Making your own plain tomato sauce takes only 20 – 30 minutes, is as easy as boiling water, and well worth the freshness.
Using vine tomatoes plays a key role for their juice content and rich tomato flavor, so save those over-sized beefsteak tomatoes for sandwiches. It helps to know that 3 to 4 large vine tomatoes yields one cup depending on their sizes (3 large tomatoes equals 4 medium), so you can easily streamline your cooking by making only what you need and avoid storing extra sauce. Sometimes I even use only 1 or 2 tomatoes to make just a half a cup or less!
- 3-4 vine tomatoes (3 large or 4 medium)
- Cut an “X” in the bottom of each tomato.
- Place tomatoes in a medium pot and cover with water just until submerged.
- Boil tomatoes until they are soft and mushy and skins naturally separate from the flesh (about 20 minutes).
- With a slotted spoon, remove from water and let tomatoes sit for 5 minutes to cool down. Discard skins and remove cores with a paring knife.
- Pulse cooked tomato flesh in a food processor a few times (or crush finely in a bowl with a pastry cutter) to achieve a sauce like texture.
- Pour tomatoes into a fine wire mesh strainer (or cheese cloth) over a bowl, separating the seeds and pulp from the sauce. Press remains in the strainer with a spoon to or spatula to extract as much fresh tomato sauce as possible.
Yield: 3 large tomatoes (or 4 medium) = 1 cup