It's surprisingly easy to make a pasta sauce from scratch with home-grown tomatoes.
I am a lazy cook as well as a lazy gardener. So making a pasta sauce from our home-grown tomatoes was a bit intimidating; it sounded like a lot of work.
First step: chop the tomatoes into chunks. Nothing fancy here:
Stew the tomato chunks for 10 minutes over relatively high heat. The idea is to soften the chunks but not turn them into mush.
Put the stewed tomato chunks through a food mill. This is a very forgiving process; just push the chunks under the food mill blade and grind away. Once all the pulp has been squeezed through, what's left is the seeds and a bit of skin.
Dice the garlic and onions. Gritzer did a second taste test, between adding the raw onion and garlic to the fresh tomato sauce and sauteing the onion and garlic first before adding them to the sauce. His testers preferred the sauce with the sauteed onions.
Saute the onions and garlic while the sauce simmers (to reduce/thicken it a bit). If you want to add mushrooms or other veggies (or meat), do so after the garlic and onions have softened and been added to the sauce along with the herbs and seasonings.
The finished sauce. I didn't time the entire process carefully, but it took about an hour. Given the excellent results and the quantity of sauce (enough for multiple meals for multiple people), this seems like a worthwhile investment of time and energy.
This strikes me as one of those meals (home-made pasta sauce from real tomatoes, wow!) that will impress others while actually being a very simple and forgiving process with palate-pleasing results.
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