Making Tomato Sauce: Enchilada Sauce & Pasta Sauce From Scratch.

I think between buying a new house and trying to settle into Southern California, my "nesting" instinct has kicked in. Though, one could certainly argue that I've always been one to tackle recipes and then post about them.

I love getting the chance to cook for other people. It's part of that "protector/care giver" instinct I have in me. And with a week-long stay in Phoenix this week for work, I decided it would be a good chance to cook for my family members that live there. My brother and his wife are very kind to let me crash at their place for the whole week. So I've offered to make dinner a few nights while I am there. Two of the dishes I will be making involve a tomato sauce base. Which means I would be making it from scratch.


I prefer - especially in Summertime - to make tomato sauce my way.  The canned stuff is fine. But I love roasting tomatoes, along with onion, and garlic... Pureeing them up, and making a sauce. It's actually quite an easy thing to do if you have a weekend morning where you are going to be stuck inside doing laundry and cleaning.

It all starts with tomatoes... Lots and lots of tomatoes.  About eight pounds of tomatoes. I like Romas. But you can use other big tomatoes.

I also picked up two red bell peppers. I seeded those and sliced them into big chunks.

The tomatoes I sliced in half...

And then dumped in a big roasting pan, with the bell peppers. Everything got drizzled with a bunch of extra virgin olive oil.  If I had to guess how much I used, I'd say probably a half a cup.

I also sprinkled salt (about tablespoon) and black pepper (freshly ground, about a 1/2 tablespoon - as I love black pepper), and then I used my hands to toss the gorgeous red spectaculars with the seasonings and oil.

I then put them all in a 400 degree oven (because I didn't want to do a slow roast. But if you want to slow roast, turn the temp down to 325 degrees and let them sit in there for about 3 hours). They roasted for just about an hour.

They should come out all wilted, with the juices collecting in the bottom of the pan.

After I took them out of the oven and let rest for about 10 minutes, I scooped 1/3 of the tomatoes out of the roasting pan, along with an onion and some garlic I had been roasting as well, and put them into the blender. I blended this mixture until it was all pureed, then I poured it into a bowl to set aside.

This mixture was going to go into both of the sauces I was looking to make with the tomato base:
  • Enchilada Sauce (non-spicy, as I making the enchiladas to feed toddlers)
  • Pasta Sauce

Next, I scooped half of the tomatoes left in the pan, and blended those down completely. I put those in a separate pot on the stove, as this would be the base for the pasta sauce.

I took the remainder of the tomatoes, along with the red bell peppers, and pureed those down as well. Those went into a separate pot on the stove, to make the Enchilada sauce.

Each sauce is simmered for an hour with it's own seasonings and mix-ins.

Pasta Sauce:
1/2 cup red wine (I used a Merlot)
1 teaspoon of salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 tablespoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper

Gentle Enchilada Sauce:
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon of black pepper
1/2 tablespoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/2 tablespoon of cumin
*To make it spicier, you could add adobo chile or a roasted jalapeƱo when you puree it.

Both sauces were brought to a boil, and then immediately dropped to a simmer for an hour. Afterwards, I put everything into jars, which are going directly into the refrigerator. You could freeze the sauce too. Definitely DO NOT store it at room temperature, unless you have experiencing canning/jarring things. 

I do not. Which is why they go into the fridge.

This recipe made four 12 ounce pasta jars and two 12 ounce enchilada jars.