There's just something more satisfying about using homemade ingredients. Can canned options work? Sure, but nothing can really beat making something yourself. That's why today's recipe is homemade tomato paste. It's a lengthy process, but these tomatoes will keep for future recipes.
- 5lbs plum tomatoes
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil plus 2tsp
- 1 sweet red pepper
- 1/2 bay leaf
- kosher salt to taste
- 1 garlic clove
To begin, preheat the oven to 300 degrees.
Chop the tomatoes and red pepper. Don't worry about uniformity, they're all going to be reduced anyway. Heat the oil over a skillet and add the tomatoes and red pepper along with the bay leaf, and salt. Bring everything to a boil while stirring until everything is soft. This should take about 8 minutes.
Pass the tomatoes through a fine, mesh sieve or the finest plate of a food mill. This should leave the seeds, bay leaf, and garlic behind.
Now take a 13"x18" rimmed baking sheet and rub it with the remaining 2 tsp of oil. Spread the tomato puree over the sheet evenly. Bake, using a spatula to turn the puree over on itself occasionally until the water evaporates and the surface darkens. This should take about 3 hours. Reduce the heat, to 250 degrees, then cook until thick and brick colored. This should take about 20-25 minutes.
For that last hour, make sure especially to turn the paste to avoid the edges overcooking.
This paste should stay well refrigerated in an airtight container for up to a month, or frozen (if wrapped well) for around 6 months.