I use a pressure cooker to make a large batch of tomato sauce. Then I freeze it in batches to use in lasagna, on top of pasta or grains, to spice up leftovers, or as a base for meat, fish or vegetables.
This post contains instructions for cooking in a conventional pot or crockpot.
The freshest, most colorful vegetables and herbs will make the best sauce, but you can use a few older vegetables too. Don’t worry too much about vegetable proportions. Just use what you have.
Ingredients to make about five liters of sauce:
- two tablespoons oil
- 4 onions, peeled and chopped
- 2-3 peppers, chopped
- 1-2 zucchini, chopped
- 2-4 stalks of celery, including leaves, chopped
- 3-4 large cans of chopped tomatoes, or the equivalent fresh. You can chop these in the processor, or cook them whole if you are planning to use an immersion blender.
- A few cloves of garlic, chopped.
- Bay leaves, oregano, parsley, dill, coriander, or other herbs.
- 1-2 cans of unadulterated tomato paste (some brands contain sugar). I can get 28x concentration, which adds a rich flavor.
Fennel, mushrooms, and hot peppers can also be added. For more about pressure cookers, see my post here.
- Heat the oil in the pressure cooker (or pot) and add the onions. Stir occasionally until the onions are translucent, about 5-10 minutes.
- Add the remaining ingredients. To preserve the full flavor of herbs, leave them out until the end. Or feel free to be lazy.
- Seal the pressure cooker.
- When it begins to steam and hiss, lower the heat (you may want to move it to a smaller burner).
- Cook for fifteen minutes.
- Release the steam naturally without opening the lever. If you decided to add the herbs at the end you can use the lever to release the steam after 15 minutes, cool the cooker enough to open it, add the herbs, and cook without pressure for a few minutes. Or cook with steam for another two minutes.
- Turn off the heat and allow the pressure cooker to cool off.
- In a regular pot, cook for forty-five minutes, adding the herbs for the last ten minutes.
- If you’re using acrockpot, there’s no need to saute onions. Cook for five hours on low.
- Blend sauce with an immersion blender, if desired. [Thanks to TDR for the reminder to remove the bay leaf first.]
- Ladle sauce into shallow freezer containers, leaving a half-inch at the top for expansion. Keep some in the refrigerator to use in the next few days and freeze the rest.
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