Monday, October 8, 2012

Long n' Low Tomato Basil Sauce

It's Thanksgiving Day here in Canada, and as much as I may complain about the tomatoes attracting fruit flies, the cucumbers going soft and always having way more catnip than I can deal with every year, I am completely aware of the fact that I am in a far better place than many others. Who can say with certainty that they will have too much fresh produce from their garden, that the crop was too good, and that they find themselves sated long before making a dent in what's on offer? Couple that with Canada's (still decent, comparatively) healthcare and education systems, the freedom we enjoy both as a nation and as individuals, a diverse mosaic of people and a gorgeous landscape, and I have a lot to be thankful for. This doesn't even include the wealth of love I receive from my friends, family and pets, the electricity and running water in my air-conditioned, heated, comfortable home, my car, computer and internet access and of course my ability to cook.

It's in the spirit of fully appreciating the bounty I do have, and hopefully inspiring the thankfulness in each of you, that I'm sharing one of the most common yet effective ways of managing an over-productive tomato garden: Tomato Basil Sauce. Specifically, a long-simmered, thick puree filled with nutritious, homegrown produce - garlic, carrot, peppers, thyme and oregano in with the tomatoes and a glug of homemade wine from our backyard grapes. The prerequisite onion and celery were not from the garden, as I planted neither of them this year (except the Egyptian onion that is), but they helped the rest of the sauce come to life. The element that turned a fairly run-of-the-mill red sauce into this sauce was a full batch of my 'Taste of Italy' Concentrate. For those of you counting, this batch of sauce contains six pounds of tomatoes and two dozen cloves of garlic. So, if you like pomodoro sauce (or any of it's uses), and you absolutely adore garlic, this is the sauce for you - hands down.

I hope everyone has a wonderfully restful Thanksgiving Monday, wherever you are!

Long n' Low Tomato Basil Sauce
Makes 2 litres, or 8 cups
3 lbs tomatoes
6 cloves garlic
1 onion, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
1 large carrot, diced
1 sweet banana pepper, diced
1 red shepherd pepper, diced
1/4 cup red wine or vegetable stock
1 cup tomato paste (I used  'Taste of Italy' Concentrate)
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tbsp dried basil
1/2 tbsp dried thyme
1 tsp fennel seed
1 tbsp fresh oregano
1 tbsp lemon juice
  1. Combine the tomatoes and garlic in a pot and cook on low heat for 4 hours (I did this step the day before and refrigerated it).
  2. Run the tomatoes through a food mill, discarding the seeds and skins.
  3. Puree the onion, celery, carrot, peppers and wine in a food processor or blender and add to the tomato puree in the pot.
  4. Bring to a simmer and stir in the tomato paste, salt and herbs.
  5. Reduce heat to low, partially cover and simmer for 6 hours.
  6. Stir in the lemon juice and can in a water bath 30 minutes.

Amount Per (1/2-cup) Serving
Calories: 65.8
Total Fat: 1.5 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 94.1 mg
Total Carbs: 12.5 g
Dietary Fiber: 2.9 g
Protein: 2.1 g


  1. Another one for the online store am dreaming about :) So wholesome !

  2. What's a shepherd pepper? Not familiar with that one!


Thanks for the feedback!