A gift of home grown organic tomatoes, a surfeit in fact, had me reaching for my heavy Italian style pans to make some spiced tomato puree.
The beauty of this dish is that it can be sealed into jars and kept in the fridge for a week or two, or frozen in containers or ziplock bags for later use. It is great with pasta or stirred into dishes – curries, vegetable stews, sauces, dressings, dips, soups etc.
It takes about 30 mins to prep and cook – it is great to make on a Sunday morning in that lazy atmosphere that envelops the house on this day. Read with a cuppa coffee while the sauce bubbles away on the stove.
This is a beautifully simply recipe. You might also like to try this one. It is one that I make and freeze in Autumn. See how to preserve tomatoes for Winter. Or explore all of our Tomato recipes here and here.
Spiced Tomato Puree
1 tblspn olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 small red chillies, chopped (or to taste)
2 tblspn chopped fresh basil
1 tblspn tomato paste
1 tspn salt
2 Tblspn dry red wine
1/4 cup water
5 medium tomatoes, about 1kg
Sweat the onions off in the olive oil with the chillies and garlic. When the onion is soft, add the other ingredients and simmer, uncovered for about 20 minutes, or when the sauce is slightly thickened.
Puree until smooth in a blender or using a hand held immersion blender. Pour the hot puree into sterilised jars, or cool and store in fridge-proof containers. If freezing, store in freezer proof containers.
It makes about 2.5 cups of beautiful puree, and lasts a week or two in the refrigerator.
I never waste anything in the kitchen. Today I added half a lime that I had used for a small squeeze of juice for a dressing. It gave a lovely zesty tang to the puree. Of course, remove the lime half before pureeing.
This puree will also take small amounts of other herbs – a frond of thyme, a small amount of fresh rosemary, a leaf of sage, a bay leaf, a black cardamom pod, etc. If you have them left over, add them to the sauce.
As well as adding flavour to curries, vegetable stews, sauces, dressings, dips and soups etc., you can add a couple of tablespoons to hot water to have an instant bowl of a spicy tomato soup. Great as it is, or add some sliced chives or spring onions, finely sliced small mushrooms, halved cherry tomatoes or a small spoon of miso.
PS. Here is one way that I used the puree to make an Indian style soup.