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Salsa di Pomodoro Siciliana

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TasunkaWitko View Drop Down
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Joined: 25 January 2010
Location: Chinook, MT
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    Posted: 30 January 2010 at 10:28

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 and process according to USDA guidelines.

this was my first attempt at making italian tomato sauce, or any tomato sauce, for that matter. I used RIVET'S Sicilian Tomato Sauce as a base and improvised a bit here and there.

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.

i debated on a few ingredients: thyme, laurel (bay) leaves and crushed red pepper flakes. they all would be authentic in italian sauce, so i will decided to add them; i guessed on the amounts, and the results were very, very good. since i canned this sauce in half-pint jars, i decided to put 1 laurel leaf in each jar as i am filled the jar. as for the crushed red peppers, i chose not to add any since my wife doesn't do well with hot spices.

i took this pic of it as it was simmering and began a running account:

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 ~

and four hours:

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.

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, better canned tomatoes, at least....these cherry and yellow pear tomatoes really worked well!).

Edited by TasunkaWitko - 05 February 2010 at 10:08
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 January 2010 at 13:51
Excellent sauce Ron, and I am definitely gonna make it. I love your idea about putting a bay leaf into each jar, so it will distrbute it's fresh flavor as the jar sits. That is just beautiful!

By the way, I really like your wallpaper in the background! That is just so cool, and I'd like to have a dining room with one wall done just like that.
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