#1  
Old 10-03-2009, 12:17 PM
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Location: Chinook, Montana
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Default salsa di pomodoro siciliana

this was my first attempt at making italian tomato sauce, or any tomato sauce, for that matter.

based on a friend's method, here are the ingredients that i used (not pictured: sherry and home-made chicken stock):



since the "store brand" was the best canned tomato available to me in this remote location, I used a slightly-larger amount of fresh cherry and yellow pear tomatoes with a few early girls, all from our garden.

there were also a few ingredients that i haven't yet decided on: thyme, laurel (bay) leaves and crushed red pepper flakes. they all would be authentic in italian sauce, so i will probably add them, but i am not sure at what amounts. since i plan to can this sauce in half-pint jars, i will most likely put 1 laurel leaf in each jar as i am filling the jar. as for the crushed red peppers, i will add a few if the sauce needs it, but otherwise, probably won't since my wife doesn't do well with hot spices. that leaves the thyme ~

........ok, i talked myself into it and will go add a tablespoon.

alright, one tablespoon of thyme is in ~ also took this pic of it as it is simmering:



so, here is the full adaptation that i am using; would have preferred fresh herbs, but the only fresh one i could get my hands on was basil:

•1 giant can (102 oz) diced tomatoes (i used a extra few fresh ones to make up for the difference between this and 4 28-oz cans)
•equivalent of 4 28-oz cans of chopped cherry and yellow pear tomatoes with a few early girls thrown in
•3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
•3 medium yellow onions, chopped fine
•1 bulb (head) garlic, chopped very fine
•1/4 cup dried parsley (none fresh available here!)
•1 large package of fresh basil (about 1/2 cup)
•equivalent of 1/2 bottle (375 millileters) of paisano wine
•1 cup sherry
•1 cup chicken broth
•1 cup homemade chicken stock
•2 TBSP sea salt
•3 TBSP rosemary
•2 TBSP marjoram
•2 TBSP oregano
•1 TBSP freshly-ground black pepper
•equivalent of three 28-oz cans water
•1 TBSP thyme
•1 bay leaf per jar of sauce, added when canned
•i most likely won't add the crushed red pepper flakes unless it really needs it.

and the method:

in tall stock pot, heat olive oil and sautee onions for about 5 minutes, or until translucent, add garlic and saute another minute or three; do not allow the garlic to turn brown.

add all remaining ingredients, the tomatoes first and the three cans of water last.

bring to a boil, stirring constantly. reduce heat to a simmer and stir fairly often (once every 10 mintes or so) to prevent from sticking. after about an hour of simmering, crush tomatoes with a potato masher.

simmer 4 or 5 hours or until sauce is thickened to your taste. add salt and pepper to taste during the last hour of cooking.

---------------------------

it's been simmering for about an hour, at least three more to go! i will go crush the tomatoes with a potato masher and let her simmer some more....

Last edited by TasunkaWitko; 10-03-2009 at 12:32 PM.
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  #2  
Old 10-03-2009, 03:05 PM
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Default Re: salsa di pomodoro siciliana

here we are at three-and-a-half hours ~ it's starting to act like a sauce, but needs a little more time to reduce down to something thicker:



i am setting the timer to stir every 10 minutes ~ this might sound anal, but i forgot to re-set the timer once and after about 20 minutes it started sticking a little to the bottom, so 10 minutes is probably about right. i am also taking a rubber spatula and scraping the side every 10 minutes when i stir and getting all that rich goodness back into the sauce where it belongs. finally, i am mashing it again every half-hour or so. i want it to be rich and chunky, but i also want it to be free of bite-sized chunks - there are still a few stubborn tomato chunks but they will crush down soon enough.

i am thinking one more hour should do it ~ one thing i know is that next time, i will use garlic other than what i used this time, which was a large variation called elephant garlic. this garlic makes nice, big cloves, but they are rather weak in flavor. i would rather have more cloves with more of that intense garlic taste. another thing i would do different next time is of course use all fresh herbs; i'll also ry to get at least hunts or del monte tomatoes. these store brand ones are doing very well, but i can't help thinking that it would be even a little richer and more flavorful with "better" tomatoes.

speaking of tomatoes, we managed to get most of the seeds when we chopped our fresh tomatoes. there are however a few that are still in the sauce. i will make a greater effort to get all seeds next time as i have noticed when tasting that every now and then, a random seed will give a bitter taste. it's only happened a couple of times in my tasting, but anything i can do to eliminate that will be good.

we're definitely getting close to turn four and are heading or the home stretch ~
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Old 10-03-2009, 03:10 PM
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Default Re: salsa di pomodoro siciliana

and four hours:

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Old 10-03-2009, 04:35 PM
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Default Re: salsa di pomodoro siciliana

she's looking really good ~ right at 5 hours it was like a lot of sutff "broke loose" and it got a little wet agian, so i've been simmering it down a little more. right now it is just below the "blop-blop" stage when it is bubbling, so i will pull it off at 6 hours, ready or not.



one other thing i will do next time is get PINT jars. right now i have only half-pint jars and it's going to be a little goofy, becuase most times i will be opening two jars, but no big deal.



this sauce has turned out very well and i will say that as it reduces down, it is becoming very robust. all flavors are asserting themseves well here, and i do believe that it would make a very good pizza sauce on its own.



no plans for this sauce tonight, but i have got a pizze dough preferment going in the fridge. tomorrow will finish the dough and make some pizza with this sauce. the rest will be used mostly for pizza, but also for any cacciatore, parmesan or other italian dishes requiring a red sauce.
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Old 10-03-2009, 08:43 PM
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Default Re: salsa di pomodoro siciliana

alrighty - at 6 hours, which was coincidentally 6pm, i took this mixture off the stove. here's what it loked like:



we immediatley hot-packed it into a bunch of jars. i had forgotten that we had a couple of quart jars in the basemetn, so we filled them, too. here's the yield:



before ladeling the sauce into each jar, i stuck a bay leaf into each jar to provide one last layer of flavor. one thing i am definitely going to have to invest in is a "canning funnel," which is just a funnel with a wide mouth that allows someone to fill canning jars without dribbling all over the place.

as you can see, pint jars would have been just right, but we will make due with the half-pints. the stuff in the tupperware is going to go on tomorrow's pizza effort for the family.

thoughts on this sauce: very good! flavor is excellent and i can't wait to try it on some food. texture was also very good ~ the tomatoes all mashed up well; my only complaint is that i probably could have simmered it down for one more hour - as it is, it is just slightly watery, but this will easily boil off with any cooking. as i predicted, the flavors from the herbs, onions, garlic etc. make this a very bold sauce that can stand alone as a pizza sauce or compliment a pasta dish - i am sure there are several other uses for it that can be imagined, including a dip for my "famous" adaptation of focaccia al formaggi di recco, but the primary application will most likely be as a pizza sauce.

looking forward to making this again with fresh herbs, "better" tomatoes (well, canned tomatoes, at least....these cherry and yellow pear tomatoes really worked well!) and of course pint-sized jars!

thanks for lookin' at my cookin'....if anyone gives this a try, please let me know what you think of it. as always, i am open to opinions, suggestions etc.
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Old 10-04-2009, 12:53 PM
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Default Re: salsa di pomodoro siciliana

and the final recipe, if anyone wants to save/print:

-----------

Salsa di Pomodoro Siciliana

If using fresh herbs, double amounts

• 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
• 3 medium yellow onions, chopped fine
• 1 bulb (head) garlic, chopped very fine
• 1 102-oz can or four 28-oz cans diced tomatoes
• Equivalent of four 28-oz cans of chopped and seeded fresh tomatoes (if using 102-oz can above, add about 10 oz of fresh tomatoes to this amount)
• Equivalent of 1/2 bottle (375 milliliters) of Paisano or other red wine
• 1 cup Marsala
• 2 cups chicken stock
• 1/4 cup dried parsley
• 1/4 cup dried basil
• 3 Tbsp rosemary
• 2 Tbsp marjoram
• 2 Tbsp oregano
• 1 Tbsp thyme
• 2 Tbsp sea salt
• 1 Tbsp freshly-ground black pepper
• Equivalent of three 28-oz cans water
• 1 bay leaf per jar of sauce, added when canned
• Optional - crushed red pepper flakes to taste

In tall stock pot, heat olive oil and sauté onions for about 5 minutes, or until translucent. Add garlic and sauté another minute or three; do not allow the garlic to turn brown.

Add all remaining ingredients, the tomatoes first and the three cans of water last.

Bring to a strong, rolling boil, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to a simmer, stirring occasionally. After about an hour of simmering, crush tomatoes with a potato masher. Simmer at least 4 hours, or until sauce is thickened to your taste, stirring every 10-15 minutes and mashing tomatoes each hour. Add salt and pepper to taste during the last hour of cooking.

When sauce has reduced to your tastes, remove from heat and immediately hot-pack into canning jars.
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