by Cat, July 2008 (Photo, right, from Wikimedia Commons)
This tomato paste can also be used in other recipes that call for tomato paste, rather than using the canned stuff (which is contaminated either by the lead in the solder, or by the toxins from the epoxy used to seal the inside of the can). It is quick to make, and delicious!
You can make up a double or triple batch, fill the compartments of 1 – 2 ice cube trays with the sauce, then freeze. Once frozen, remove the sauce from the trays and seal in freezer bags for future use. My ice cube tray compartments each hold 2 Tbsp of sauce.
Fresh Tomato Paste for Parmigiana Sauce
This recipe, adapted from Fine Cooking (1), uses fresh tomatoes to 6 Tbsp make tomato paste. If using oregano in the main dish, omit the fresh basil in this sauce.
Once the tomato paste is ready, make the parmigiana sauce by adding:
- dry white or red wine (enough to just soften the paste but still be thick enough to stay put when you put a spoonful on top of the eggplant slices or meat cutlets
- pinch dried oregano or basil, or a bit more fresh
- 2 (or more) cloves garlic, minced and pressed to a paste
I just made this on 2/25/12, using fresh basil, and it was delicious in my Eggplant Parmigiana recipe. I did process through my sieve, but then decided to use the discards because they tasted too good & garlicky. I used the discards on top of the bottom layer of eggplant, and the wine-enhanced paste over the top layer. How do you say wonderful in Italian? Meraviglioso!
Ingredients & Equipment:
- 1 large clove garlic (or 2 small)
- 1 3/4 lb (28 oz) plum tomatoes (or one 28-oz can diced San Marzano tomatoes, drained)
- 1 – 2 Tbsp olive oil
- Unrefined Sea Salt
- 6 fresh basil leaves (optional)
- cast iron skillet
- Peel garlic and cut in half; chop tomatoes coarsely. Tear basil leaves in half.
- Heat oil in skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and cook until fragrant and barely golden, 1 – 2 minutes; reduce heat if they tend to burn. Add tomatoes and 1/4 tsp salt.
- Raise heat to medium high and cook, stirring occasionally, until tomatoes begin to break down into a sauce, 20 – 25 minutes. Add warm water 1 Tbsp at a time if the tomatoes begin to dry up. You don’t want too much liquid.
- Lower heat to medium and continue cooking, until thick and chunky, 5 – 10 minutes.
- Off heat, remove garlic. Process tomatoes through a sieve. Then stir in basil, and season to taste with salt. Set aside until ready to use in above recipe. (Don’t forget to dilute with the wine and flavor with fresh garlic).
- The Vegetarian Epicure by Anna Thomas (see Beloved Cookbooks for more about this book)