What Are The Best Tomatoes For Marinara Sauce
You can use almost any tomato to make marinara sauce from scratch, but the best ones will be the paste tomatoes. These are meatier and have less water content, meaning you need to cook them for less time to get to that nice, thick sauce. Look for Roma or San Marzano tomatoes .
This marinara sauce is naturally chunky, but you can easily make it into a smooth and silky marinara with a quick blitz in the blender. I prefer to use a handheld immersion blender to puree it right in the pot, but you could also transfer it to a countertop blender.
Homemade Tomato Sauce Serving Suggestions
Most often, I serve this fresh tomato sauce over pasta. Toss it with your favorite pasta shape for a flavorful, satisfying summer dinner. Tip: a few fresh basil leaves and some grated Parmesan really take this meal over the top.
Not in the mood for pasta? Not a problem! Here are a few more ways to use this sauce:
- On pizza. Make a classic Margherita, or add whatever toppings you like!
- Over polenta. Spoon it over creamy polenta for a hearty side dish, or add roasted broccoli or grilled zucchini to make it a meal.
- On zucchini noodles or spaghetti squash. We love these light, fresh pasta alternatives.
- In a meatball sub. Fill soft baguette with vegan meatballs and spoonfuls of the fresh tomato sauce!
Let me know what ideas you try!
Cooking Tips For Tomato Sauce
I already described the secret ingredient Tamari in the introduction. Here are some more tips:
-> The typical Italian tomato sauce flavor comes from the light brown roasted garlic.
-> Marmande tomatoes are particularly fleshy tomatoes, tasty a blast and when I get these I grab.
-> The preparation works just as well with other types of tomatoes or canned tomatoes.
-> If you use tomatoes on the vine, then cook the panicles in the sauce, that gives flavor.
-> With canned tomatoes I prefer tomatoes whole, I crush the tomatoes as needed for a nice overall look.
-> With canned tomatoes you halve the preparation time of the sauce.
-> I prefer thyme, marjoram or oregano as herb base. Please use herbs of Provence only sparingly.
-> The sauce basically does not need wine. You can supplement with dry red wine or white wine or Prosecco.
-> The tomato paste provides the binding of the sauce and gives a deep flavor.
-> I usually add fresh herbs only at the end, so the green color is preserved.
-> Cook the pasta at the variants, mix with sauce a little more al dente. The hot sauce cooks the pasta.
-> Drain the pasta carefully, otherwise you will dilute the sauce when mixing.
-> I usually add fresh herbs at the end to preserve the green color.
-> Tamari and soy sauce are the new trendy seasoning for tomato sauce. The addition strengthens umami and boosts the taste.
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Short And Sweet Tomato Sauce
Barely-cooked tomato sauce is best when tomatoes are at their ripest. Briefly cooking the sauce helps retain the tomatoes’ fresh, tart-sweet taste, but also heats them long enough to add depth of flavor. Caramelize some onions, sauté garlic, and simmer herbs long enough to infuse the sauce with their flavors.
Homemade Fresh Tomato Sauce
With fresh tomatoes in abundance, why not make a fresh tomato sauce? It’s fresh, natural, wholesome and most delicious. This simple, easy recipe takes less than 20 minutes to make.
The best way to make a good tomato sauce is to use good Italian tomatoes, they are sweet and have a beautiful red color which makes a big difference to the sauce. Now we are not in Italy!! So it means we probably have to use canned Italian tomatoes.
Now I do use canned tomatoes when I have to but when fresh is an option!! Of course, I want to use fresh!! I do get absolutely delicious fresh tomatoes here. I make my homemade tomato sauce with fresh tomatoes and you will see I still manage to get rich red color and sweetness to my sauce. Want to know the little secret? It’s in the recipe below. The caramelize sugar!! You must try it.
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Preparing Fresh Tomatoes For Sauce
Once I’d settled on using a mix of tomatoes, the next step was deciding on how to prep them. Most folks agree that an abundance of skin or seeds in a tomato sauce is not a good thing, but there’s more than one way to remove that stuff from a sauce.
Some recipes call for discarding the seeds altogether, but, as I’ve already mentioned, I like the flavor of the jelly the seeds are suspended in too much to do thatin fact, it has a tartness that I think is essential to creating what will ultimately be a sauce that has a good balance of sweet and tart flavors.
As for the skins, one option is to score the tomatoes, quickly blanch them, and then peel off their skins, a method Kenji describes in his article on peeling and dicing tomatoes. This is fine for small quantities of sauce, but I felt strongly that I wanted to select a method that would work for large batcheswe are doing this in peak tomato season, so we might as well make a lot, and peeling each tomato individually isn’t practical.
The method I know best is one I used when working on farms in Italy, where we would make vats of sauce each week in the peak of summer. The tomatoes are cut into chunks, cores, skins, stems, seeds, and all dumped into a pot and set over high heat until they dump their juices and come to a boil.*
** In fact, in Italian, this watery, fresh-tomato purée is called a passata .
Once we have our tomato purée, the next question is what to do with it.
What Is Fresh Tomato Sauce Called
You may wonder why I havent called this a Marinara sauce, because thats what many people would call it in the US and UK, however, a marinara sauce in Italy is actually a seafood sauce! So if youre looking for a recipe for an American version of Marinara, yes, youve found one. In Italy, sugo means sauce, and so this is just a quick sugo. Note: theres also a marinara pizza, that does not include seafood, so its rather confusing. Just call it a fresh tomato sauce to be easy!
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Homemade Spaghetti Sauce From Fresh Tomatoes
With just a few basic ingredients you can create an amazing and delicious spaghetti sauce:
Why I Make Fresh Tomato Sauce
- Its SO easy. Really truly. It takes time, but zero kitchen skill is required.
- Its WAY better than anything store-bought. Im not exaggerating here. Just wait and see!
- You can 100% control the ingredients. Apart from the tomatoes, this recipe has only three veggies and zero sweeteners.
- A basic tomato sauce can become virtually anything later. It can be tomato basil soup or pizza sauce or even spaghetti sauce.
- Its hands-off. Get the sauce going on the stove or in a slow cooker and set the kitchen timer and get busy doing something else!
- This recipe makes a lot! I use 10 pounds of tomatoes, but the recipe can be easily halved if you prefer.
- No need to peel the tomatoes! One less step makes this SUPER easy!
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How To Store Fresh Homemade Tomato Sauce
You can keep fresh tomato sauce in glass containers , placed in the refrigerator for 2/3 days, in the freezer for up to a month.
Tomato sauce can be safely frozen. To freeze it you can use glass jars or the special food containers. When you want to defrost it, take it out of the refrigerator and put it in the fridge for a few hours, so that the thermal shock does not break the glass . Then defrost it completely at room temperature or in the microwave.
About This Tomato Sauce
Do you prefer chunky tomato sauce or smooth tomato sauce?
Honestly? They are both absolutely delicious! My kids tend to favor the smooth sauce more than the chunky so we always blend it to a smooth sauce. I love a nice chunky tomato sauce especially with a few added olives to it.
This is often my go-to for many many pasta dishes. Pizzas, mushrooms, bakes, etc.
- If you see my recipe for Penne Lasagna – yes, I’ve used this as well.
- For my pizza – I thicken the sauce a little more and spread over the pizza dough. Add toppings and bake. Don’t forget to read my Secrets to delicious homemade Pizza.
- For a mushroom sauce – Saute mushroom slices in one tablespoon of olive oil, add a pinch of salt so the mushrooms will release the liquid. Once the liquid has evaporated add in the tomato sauce and cook for five minutes. Serve with pasta.
- Meat sauce – saute the ground meat in a tablespoon of oil until brown. Add the tomato sauce and cook on low for an hour until thick and delicious.
- Lasagna – Layer this fresh tomato sauce with ricotta or bechamel for vegetarian lasagna. Or layer the above meat sauce with ricotta or bechamel for a meat lasagna
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How To Make It
If you’ve made homemade marinara sauce before, you know that it typically involves blanching and peeling tomatoes and slowly simmering them for hours to develop a deep, rich, mellow flavor. Well, this is not that marinara sauce. For one thing, let’s just be honest here…I am too lazy to blanch and peel tomatoes. And that’s okay, because I don’t at all mind little bits of tomato skin in my sauce. In fact, I enjoy a marinara with a bit of texture, and this one has that.
My method for making this sauce is to cut my tomatoes into chunks and then squeeze them with my hands into a big pot to break them up into little bits. This can be a messy process, so if you would rather give your tomato chunks a few pulses in the food processor to achieve the same effect, I would completely understand.
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How To Make Fresh Tomato Sauce Step By Step
First, saute onions and garlic in oil until soft. Remove from burner and set aside.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil and carefully place tomatoes in water and boil for 3 minutes until they start to peel and wrinkle. Remove tomatoes with a slotted spoon and let cool.
Carefully peel tomato skins off, remove any hard cores with a knife, and then roughly chop.
Add tomatoes and tomato paste to the pan with sauteed onions and garlic, simmer for 2+ hours. Then stir in fresh basil.
Fresh Tomato Sauce From Scratch
Making tomato sauce isnt hard, but its definitely labor-intensive. Even the relatively small amount that were making here just enough for a few special mid-winter meals will take you a solid afternoon of work from start to finish. If you want to make a larger batch, give yourself more time for the project and think about recruiting some extra hands to help.
If youve never made tomato sauce from fresh tomatoes before, this is a good place to start. The amount isnt overwhelming, but youll make enough to justify the afternoon. Its also a small enough amount that you can freeze the whole batch if you dont feel like canning it.
Bottom line: Grab yourself some tomatoes and make yourself some tomato sauce this weekend. You wont regret it.
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Can You Make Crockpot Spaghetti Sauce
Absolutely! I tested this in my slow cooker and it works just the same.
Youll skip the first step of caramelizing the onions and simply dump everything in the pot. Simply crack the lid and cook it over low for 4-6 hours, or until most of the liquid is absorbed. Follow steps 4 and 5 above and thats it!
Ways To Use Fresh Tomato Sauce
We love this sauce served simply with spaghetti thats been cooked until just al dentethis means to the tooth as in the cooked pasta still has a bit of bite to it. But! Theres no wrong way to use this sauce. When tomatoes are in season, and your favorite booth at the farmers market it running a $1/tomato special, buy them up! Make tons of this sauce and freeze ityoull be thanking yourself all winter long. You can use this fresh tomato sauce anywhere youd use jarred tomato sauce. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
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Correcting The Bulk Sauce
So, now that I’ve explained my three-pronged approach to the sauce, we’re basically done, right? Nope!
Just because I have my amazing tomato paste and my fresh-and-fruity purée doesn’t mean I’m just going to accept that the bulk of the sauce is going to taste merely good, especially if there’s anything I can do about it.
The first trick is one we’ve all seen a million times: Toss in some basil. It’s no accident that basil is usually included in canned tomatoes. Canning requires intense heat and cooking, which kills any trace of fresh tomato flavor. A few sprigs of basil help add back a little freshness. I added some basil to a portion of my bulk sauce while it was still warm and let it steep.
It worked, adding a fragrant, floral, anise-y scent to the sauce that was totally wonderful. At the very least, it’s worth steeping the basil in the sauce.
Some folks, though, also add some tomato leaves to their sauce. Writes McGee, “Tomato leaves have a fresh-tomato aroma thanks to their leaf enzymes and prominent aromatic oil glands.”
In case you’re worried that the leaves are poisonous, no need to fear: Not only are they not toxic, but they can bind with cholesterol and possibly lower how much of it our bodies absorb. Bonus!
I tried it out, and, aside from the risk of putting way too much in the sauce, found that it does indeed add a grassy, green flavor that can help offset whatever fresh notes are lost from cooking the tomato.
Raw And Refreshing Tomato Sauces
To make raw tomato sauce, use fresh tomatoes at their peak of ripeness, when they are sweet and juicy and bursting with flavor. The process is easy:
Peeling is optional, but seed your tomatoes and chop them. Alternately, cut the tomatoes into quarters, seed them, and then grate them with a cheese grater for a smoother, juicier sauce.
Fresh raw tomato sauce only needs to be seasoned with extra virgin olive oil, fresh herbs , and some salt and pepper. If you like, toss in some toasted pine nuts for texture and richness.
Raw sauce can be eaten right away tossed with pasta, spooned over grilled meats and vegetables, mounded on lightly toasted or grilled bread, spread on pizza crust, or whatever else sounds good to you. And if you’ve got a little time, let your raw sauce sit for a few hours to give the flavors a chance to blend and deepen.
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How To Make Fresh Tomato Sauce With Summer Tomatoes
This Freezer Friendly Tomato Sauce is a labor of love, but so so worth it! The perfect way to make use of all of these fresh tomatoes during tomato season!
- Total Time:2 hours and 15 minutes
- 1011 pounds fresh heirloom tomatoes, or any tomatoes of choice
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 2 teaspoons sea salt, more to taste
- 2 teaspoons black pepper, more to taste
- 1 teaspoon dried basil, more to taste
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano, more to taste
- Optional: 1 4.5-ounce can tomato paste
- Optional: 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 1/4 cup lemon juice if canning!