Thursday, July 8, 2010

Mix it Up: Tomato-Basil Simmer Sauce 4 Ways

Here is a sauce that you can make one day, and have enough for more than just that night's meal.  You can use it for pasta sauce, try over grilled chicken or along side grilled cheese sandwiches.  Plus, you can create 3 more different styles by just adding an extra ingredient.

Tomato-Basil Simmer Sauce
Better Home and Gardens
Prep time: 2 1/2 hours
Cooking time: 70 min
Process: 35 min
Makes: 11 cups (6 pints)

- 12 lbs. ripe tomatoes (about 25), peeled
- 3 tbsp packed brown sugar
- 4 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 2 cups lightly packed fresh basil leaves, chopped
- 2 cup lightly packed assorted herbs (such as oregano, thyme, or parsley) chopped
- 6 tbsp lemon juice

Cut peeled tomatoes into chunks.  Place some of the chunks in a food processor or blender.  Cover; process or blend until finely chopped.  Transfer chopped tomatoes to a 7 - 8 qt. heavy nonreactive pot.  Repeat to chop remaining tomatoes and add to pot.
Stir brown sugar, salt, vinegar, and black pepper into tomatoes.  Bring to boiling.  Boil steadily (rapidly breaking bubbles), uncovered, for 70 - 80 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until mixture is reduced to about 11 cups and is desired consistency.  Remove from heat; stir in herbs.
Meanwhile, prepare jars for storing.  Spoon 1 tbsp lemon juice into each of six hot clean pint canning jars.  Ladle hot sauce into jars with lemon juice, leaving 1/2 inch head space.  Wipe jar rims; adjust lids.  Process filled jars in a boiling-water canner for 35 minutes (start timing when water returns to boiling).  Remove jars; cool on wire racks.

Spicy Simmer Sauce: add 2 tbsp crushed red pepper to the sauce with the herbs.

Roasted Garlic Simmer Sauce: Stir in 3 tbsp chopped roasted garlic with the herbs.

Double Tomato Simmer Sauce: Stir in 1 cup snipped dried tomatoes with the herbs.

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