You might think this is entirely the wrong season for making tomato sauce, and you would generally be right. Usually i make tomato sauce for pizzas and pasta each summer when tomatoes are cheap. Two years ago however, cheap tomato season passed me by without my even realising. I think i was busy at work, and away a lot, and before i knew it tomatoes were back up at $5 or more a kilo. I like to buy sauce tomatoes for $2/kg or less, and save my home-grown tomatoes for eating fresh. Luckily i had made a lot of tomato pizza/pasta sauce the previous season, and still had some frozen, but i knew i did not have enough to last me until the following summer. Happily, just as i was using my last batch of frozen pizza sauce, in deepest darkest winter i came across the following recipe by Bernadette Hogg in a 'House and Garden' magazine that was a few months old. This recipe uses tinned tomatoes so it is an ideal backup if you missed out on cheap tomatoes, or for whatever reason just didn't make enough sauce (or any sauce) when tomatoes were in season. I won't judge you for that, and now no-one need know.
You can still have home-made tomato sauce and maintain that domestic goddess facade.
Like so many things, home made pizza and pasta sauce is infinitely better than the bought options, not only because it tastes better, but also because the bought options are usually laden with sugar. This recipe does have sugar added, but not a great deal, and you can always use less if you prefer.
The recipe calls for fresh onion, garlic and chilli, although i have often substituted chilli flakes for the fresh chilli if i don't happen to have any to hand. This time i happened to have 2 chillies in the fridge that needed using so i made a double batch. I freeze it in cup sized batches for use as 'pasta sauce' (also often added to meaty casseroles, mince in various guises and other such dishes when i am not being vegan), and batches of approximately 100 ml for use on pizzas.
A single recipe makes enough for one lot of pasta and 3 lots of pizza sauce. I'm planning on making a lentil shepherd's pie some time soon, and i'm expecting this sauce will add some lovely flavour.
Hopefully i will remember to buy cheap sauce tomatoes this summer, and i will share with you a lovely recipe for pizza/pasta sauce that uses fresh tomatoes then.
SPICY TOMATO SAUCE
Bernadette Hogg in 'NZ House and Garden Magazine', April 2016
2 tablespoons oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 red chilli (seeds removed), finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon hot smoked paprika
75 ml cider vinegar
25 ml balsamic vinegar
1-2 tablespoons brown sugar
400g tin chopped tomatoes
70g tomato paste
Heat oil in a pan over a medium-low heat. Add onion, cook until soft. Add garlic, chilli, cumin and paprika, stirring for a minute. Add both vinegars and sugar, stirring until the sugar dissolves.
Bring to the boil, add the tin of tomatoes and the tomato paste, season to taste and simmer over a medium heat for 10 to 15 minutes until the mixture has reduced and thickened.
Cool and freeze in batches, or store in the fridge for up to 4 days.