Nettie's All Around Tomato Sauce
By Nettie Colón
- 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.
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.