Nettie's Tomato Sauce
Mill City Cooks

Nettie’s All Around Tomato Sauce

By: Nettie Colón

Serve this red sauce over one of Dumpling & Strand‘s Italian style noodles. I recommend “spaccatelle” which is a long and curved epic sauce scooper regional to Sicily. It’s uniquely cleft interior is perfect to scoop up any sauces, and aside from Dumpling & Strand, it is typically only found dried in the U.S.

Ingredients

  • 6 lbs. Tomatoes* (heirloom, beef, slicers or anything with good flavor)
  • 4 Star anise
  • 1 Vanilla Bean Pod
  • Sea salt & cracked black pepper to season
  • White sugar*
  • Fresh thyme
  • 1-2 Bay leaves
  • Fresh garlic**
  • Fresh basil, roughly chopped
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Extra flavor profiles***

Notes on Ingredients

*Always taste the tomatoes uncooked to determine their natural sweetness before you add the sugar.
* If you have added too much sugar to start this can be balanced out with a touch of sherry vinegar.
**The amount of garlic to infuse with greatly depends on its strength; again, make your own judgment.
***Additional seasoning such as cumin, fennel seeds, chili or sweet curry powder can be added according to your personal taste.

Method

Preheat a large, heavy pan on the stove. Wash the tomatoes and cut in half or chop roughly. Place into the hot pan and season with salt, pepper and a touch of sugar. Add the star anise and vanilla bean pod.

Allow the tomatoes to start to cook then press them gently with a masher to help them to release their juice.

Reduce the heat down to just simmering and continue for about 1-2 hours until slightly thickened. Slow evaporation of the moisture from the tomatoes will produce a deep color concentrated flavor without any bitterness.

Smash the garlic and add it to the tomatoes along with the basil. Remove from heat and finish by mixing in a good amount of olive oil, to taste.