Ditch the jars and get ready to whip up a batch of your very own Fresh Tomato Pasta Sauce From Scratch. It’s way easier than you might think, and WAY TASTIER too thanks to ripe red tomatoes and a hit of fresh basil. Serve over pasta as-is, or use as a base for other sauces, toppings or even slathered over your next homemade pizza.
Sarah’s birthday is coming up this week! Cue the cheesy grins. 😀 😀 😀
Since one day is never enough for a decent birthday (in my humble opinion 😛 ), our friends and I planned a few birthday surprises to kick things off a few days early.
And why not? Birthdays only come around once a year right?
The weekend of birthday shenanigans began on Saturday morning with a two hour pottery lesson in which we both tried our hands at forming ACTUAL USABLE THINGS out of clay.
Safe to say we succeeded with a couple of quirky serving plates. (Keep your eyes peeled, these might pop up in future photo shoots).
LESS safe to say we succeeded at the teapots… or perhaps now should I call them the “things that may or may not be able to hold water but kind of resemble things that do”.
Sunday’s weather dawned dark and rainy, but thankfully the skies cleared for a day out with friends at a wine festival in McLaren Vale.
Sprawling on the grass with a huge pile of Mexican food and a few glasses of sparkling wine was definitely a nice way to unwind after a busy weekend.
But of course, more birthday surprises are still on their way. Bring on Wednesday is all I can say.
Tee hee. 🙂
The other non-birthday-related bonus of the weekend was when our local fresh produce market yielded up a seriously good bargain, in the form of a HUGE box packed full of fresh tomatoes, zucchini and capsicum for only $3.
Needless to say, it was impossible to walk past, and prompted a stream of recipe ideas as we thought of all the delicious potential locked away in these unassuming little veggies.
By the time we made it back to the car, we’d decided it was the perfect opportunity to try our hands at a batch of this vegetarian and vegan friendly Fresh Tomato Pasta Sauce From Scratch.
Fresh Tomato Pasta Sauce From Scratch
This pasta sauce recipe was inspired by our Italian Mama in Naples, Italy. You remember the one that taught us the traditional napolitan pizza dough?
Oh Rita, how we miss you so. 😀
Now, the first step is the messiest and the funnest (wait, is funnest a word? well it is now).
You get to prep your tomatoes by popping them in boiling water for a few minutes which will make the skin peel off nice and easily.
(This process is made even more enjoyable by throwing on your favourite music and pouring a nice big glass of wine.)
(Speaking from experience, of course.)
Next you get to chop the tomatoes (an apron may be a good idea here, again speaking from experience 😛 ) then pop them back in the pot with the garlic, onion, fresh basil, bay leaves, and spices and simmer away until you reduce that pot of tomato goodness into gloriously saucy heaven.
We like things a bit spicy around here, so the hot paprika came out for our version. Feel free to throw in or throw out depending on how you like it!
Once the sauce has reduced you’re pretty well set for some pasta awesomeness like our Spaghetti alla Tavernara. You should have plenty to use for dinners, leftovers, separate meals, or pop some in the freezer for future use.
We were super hungry and had that heap of veggies to use up, so we took one portion of the sauce and added mushrooms, capsicum and zucchini, then threw it over a batch of spirali pasta for a quick and easy vegetarian dinner.
But if you’re not feeling like pasta for dinner, this delicious sauce also magically transforms into – – >
Bonus Homemade Pizza Sauce
Which, because of the deliciousness, and because of the huge pile of pizza dough our housemate scored, led to homemade pizzas for dinner not once but TWO nights in a row.
Put away those judgy eyes. I know you’ve been there too.
Pizza Fest No. 1 involved cooking our pizzas the traditional way in the oven, with a good slathering of our spicy sauce topped with mushrooms, salami and cheese.
Pizza Fest No. 2 involved deep frying mini pizza bases (aka Pizza Frite, pro-tip from Mama Rita*), then topping them with our sauce, buffalo mozzarella and fresh Italian basil. Those crispy on the outside, soft and chewy on the inside bases seriously soaked up ALL THE FLAVS in the best way possible.
*I didn’t realise this rhymed when you say it out loud haha! But I had to leave it in there after I almost fell over laughing reading it out to Sarah.
Want more Italian favourites? Check these out:
- Bring a large pot of water to the boil. Add tomatoes and ensure they are covered by the water. Quickly bring back to the boil, then remove from heat and drain.
- Allow tomatoes to cool so you can handle them. Peel the skin and dice into small pieces. Discard stems and set aside.
- Heat the oil in the same large pot. Add garlic and brown onion and saute until translucent.
- Add the tomatoes, red wine, bay leaves, basil, hot paprika, smoked paprika and mace. Stir well and bring to the boil once more, then reduce heat to a simmer and cook for around 2 hours until sauce has thickened and reduced. Remove from the heat.
- Carefully transfer sauce into airtight containers. For bests flavour, do not serve on the same day. Store in refrigerator for a day or two to allow the flavours to fully develop.