Friday, August 19, 2016

Fresh Pasta Sauce For Lazy Cooks

The notion of traditional homemade pasta sauce is so romantic. Thinking about lovely red tomatoes, simmered for hours with fresh Italian spices, is simply delightful. Well, it would be delightful to eat... but (for me) not to make.
Confession: I don't like to cook!
So, when I found my kitchen full of this year's tomato harvest, I knew I'd need to find a few ways to cut corners. If I was going to be motivated to cook with them, I needed a few short cuts!

Enter: Instant Pot pasta sause

After all, they were simply too pretty not to use!
Luckily for me I have two new kitchen gadgets that help speed along the process quite well!

Meet my gadgets:

The Instant Pot and the Stick Blender. These are 2 kitchen accessories that I recommend any cook (lazy or otherwise) add to their arsenal.

Step One:

Simply wash and dice your tomatoes.
There'll be no blanching or removal of seeds here. This is a guide for lazy cooks!

I used a mix of roma tomatoes, and beefsteak. While traditionally, marinara sauce is made with just roma tomatoes, any kind will work.

Then, just toss diced tomatoes into your Instant Pot (see link above). I didn't measure at all, I just kept chopping and filling until I got close to the "Max Fill" line.

Instant Pot pasta sause

Step Two:

Toss in some flavor. Again, I din't measure anything here (remember: lazy).
I added (what was probably about 2-3 teaspoons of) dried thyme and basil.

Drizzle a (roughly) few tablespoons of olive oil into the mix too.

Also, because I happened to have fresh garlic around I added about 4 cloves of that.

I squished it in the garlic press, but since you'll be using a stick blender later, you probably don't even need to bother with that; just toss 'em in.

If you don't have fresh garlic, a couple teaspoons of garlic powder would work too.

Step Three:

I'm so fortunate, because anytime I want to use bay leaves in my cooking, I just walk out to my backyard and grab a couple off of the huge bay laurel tree growing outside my door. 

If you don't happen to have one of these trees nearby, don't fret, you can also get bay leaves dried in the spice section of your grocery store.

Toss a couple of bay leaves in with all the other ingredients, and add some salt. I put in (about) 3 teaspoons of salt. Be careful with the salt though, don't go overboard. You can always add more salt later if you want to.

Instant Pot pasta sause

Mix it all up with a big spoon and secure the lid of the Instant Pot. 

Then, set your Instant Pot to "Manual/High Pressure" for 10 minutes, Quick release (QR). 

Walk away. Do something else for a while. Bonus points for doing something frivolous!

Now you just let it do it's thing. It will take a little while to heat up, then it will go through the cooking cycle (counting down from 10). 

Once it's done release the steam/ pressure by moving the little lever on the lid. Wait for it to stop steaming and carefully remove the lid.  

Instant Pot pasta sause

Step Four:

Remove bay leaves and discard.

You'll notice that, while it looks beautiful, it doesn't quite look like tomato sauce yet. This is easily fixed. Just grab your stick blender, set it to high and give it some good swirls through the sauce. 

Instant Pot pasta sause

I blended for about a minute. I wanted it to still be slightly chunky, with some larger pieces of tomato remaining. For the most part seeds and skin get mashed up with everything else. And, if a few of these remain, it's all the better because it means you can tell that this is fresh sauce. No jars here baby!

Step Five:

You might notice that the constancy is a bit too watery. No problem! Just dump all of the sauce into a fine mesh strainer. 

Immediately some of the watery part will drain out. Give it a couple of swirls with a mixing spoon to help it along. For even thicker sauce, let it sit for a minute or two. Or, transfer immediately back to Instant Pot (or other) container. 

Stir and serve!

Store in the refrigerator for up to five days, or freeze for later use (up to six months). 
Enjoy, and be sure to brag about how you made this fresh tomato sauce "from scratch"!

That's all, thanks for stopping by!

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  1. I am amazed on sauce but I am in love with your kitchen gadgets!! Please come on over and share your stuff at our blog hop Wed-Sun

  2. That looks delicious! Thanks for sharing at Home Sweet Home!

  3. It looks Awesome, thanks for sharing on the Homesteader Hop


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