I'm not going to lie, since the big launch debut I've been a little nervous. My momma and I made the deal-- she picks the meals and provides the recipes and I'll do my very best to keep up. Up next on her list was her homemade tomato sauce. This sounded REALLY difficult to me, but I've always loved it, so I really wanted to try. And I was pleasantly surprised! It wasn't THAT HARD. I have to say, my sauce was AMAZING. Seriously.
Side note before we start: In preparation for the blog I did purchase a $20 immersion blender from Target. This isn't necessary as you can use a food processor or regular blender— things just get a little more dubious with the pouring of hot liquids.
Ok here we go: I started with 2 medium sized carrots, washed, peeled, and then chopped them up. ( The recipe says finely chopped, I cut the carrot in half long ways, then again so it was in four, and then chopped down the carrot. I realized after, that it this step isn't critical because you are going to blend everything anyway). Next, recipe calls for 3 cups of onions. I had 2 large onions, which was just enough. I started to put all the chopped veggies in the pot before I heated the oil, but apparently this is a big cooking no no and my roomie stopped me. "You should let the oil get hot before you add the veggies". So, with the stove at medium heat I added ½ cup of olive oil, waited 2-3 minutes, and then added the veggies. I let that cook on medium heat for 25 min. I kept the lid on the pot -- but my lid had a steam hole. (I don't really know if these things matter—mother dearest, please shed some light.)
After 25 min, I added the tomatoes (I used Cento peeled tomatoes, but really any canned tomatoes will do), salt, basil, and cayenne pepper. Another note:
My sauce was definitely spicier than my mom's usually is. I might have added a 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper without realizing it… ooops! Luckily, I loved the sauce spicy! (I brought some into work for my coworkers to sample, I was so proud, and one of them said she'd even make it spicier --- she is a wild woman!)
The pros tweak recipes on purpose, those of us just learning may do it by mistake. This mistake turned out to be a bonus, while I'm sure in the future I may not be so lucky.
Back to the cooking: After I added the tomatoes, salt, basil, and cayenne pepper, I let it all simmer on medium heat for 30 minutes. I had to restrain myself from stirring more than occasionally, I was so excited. Next came the adventurous part: the immersion blender. Here is my best piece of advice-- keep the blender submerged in the sauce!! I tried to lift it up, while on, to blend the veggies at the top and managed to pokadot my white kitchen (and myself) with red sauce. I'd also recommend turning the heat down super low while blending, I eventually turned my stovetop off. It made it easier. Just don't forget to turn it back on! Once the sauce was blended, I added the garlic and let it cook for 5 more min. Honestly, I tasted the sauce throughout the entire process but now it was time to take an official taste!! I felt the sauce was a little spicy, added a generous tablespoon of balsamic vinegar which gave it a little sweetness to take the edge off.
I'm in love with this sauce—it is amazing!
Also, I enjoyed this with some Quinoa pasta. This was the first time I'd ever made pasta. I know I know, shocking but to be fair, I am celiac and cannot eat most pasta. Yet, my roommates still got a good laugh that at 25, I'd never cooked pasta. Luckily, it's really easy! Quinoa pasta cooks the same as regular pasta: Boil water, add pasta and let it resume the boil, cook for 7-10 min, then drain. It tastes just as good too!
All in all, it took about 1.5 hr. to do. By far the longest I've ever been in the kitchen, but well worth it!! And, I had a snack before I started cooking so I wasn't cranky throughout the process. I shared some with my roommates, had some myself, brought some for lunch and still froze about half the sauce to use for my next blog post: turkey meatballs!