I have been looking for a good tomato sauce recipe for awhile now. I'd been toying with making it since I read Animal, Vegetable, Miracle . Most of the ones I came across started with canned tomatoes. Don't get me wrong, I do love canned tomatoes ever since I started making my own sauce and eschewed (SAT word!) the canned/bottled pasta sauce (it's seriously better, no joke). Like a deliverance from a higher power (like Mario Batali), Real Simple had one for making a large amount of sauce in this month's issue. It seemed pretty easy and I decided to use it...silly, silly girl.
This pic is between 25 and 30 lbs of tomatoes. I know, doesn;t look like it. This is what was required for about 8 quarts of sauce according to the RS recipe. I had too, blanch, cool in ice water, peal, core and de-seed all of these before I could even start cooking the sauce; not to mention pealing and crushing 2 heads of garlic and dicing 4 onions. The blanching, cooling, pealing, coring and de-seeding was f-ing tedious but I got it done.
Oh! I also bought a brand new pot to make 1/2 the sauce in b/c you needed 2 at least 9qt pots to do it. Ikea, $34.95, love it (yeah, I know, not so local, you wanna to direct me to a pot maker in PA?). The other pot on the back of the stove is my Multi-Pot. No house should be without one (good for steaming, blanching and all things requiring a stock pot).
Anyway, after what seemed like forever, I finally got the sauce going. It took ages for it to cook down and thicken. When if finally did, I did not get 8 quarts...I only got 4! I was not happy. I spent all evening on this thinking that I would have at least 8 dinners out of this sauce. I ended up with 4.
I began to second guess myself. Had I miscalculated? Had I let it cook down too much? Where did I go wrong!? Then I realized, "Hey, you just cooked tomato sauce from scratch. That is not too shabby no matter how much it is. You did it. You TRIED it
Now, looking at the cost, $10 for the tomatoes (I hit the bruised and overripe section at the farm stand as advised by those in the know), $3 for onions, $1.50 for the garlic, the 4 quarts ended up costing me less than $4 per quart BUT the labor cost was significant to me. I was hot, tired and frustrated the whole time, not to mention the 30 minutes I spent digging through the dollar section at the farm stand looking for tomatoes that would pass good enough for sauce. I really thought that this was going to be a great experience, that I would come away with an appreciation of people that make this on a daily basis. I didn't. The sauce ended up being more like a pizza sauce but not one I'd like on pasta. That's going to be a good deal of pizza (yes, I am going to try that too).
Anyway, would I do it again? Not in that quantity. I might do a smaller amount for one meal or double it and freeze half but never 30 lbs of tomatoes again. I think that if I want tomato sauce on my pasta, other than in the summer, I'll be getting organic canned tomatoes to make it. I'll save the fresh tomatoes of summer for slicing, salting and eating raw.