Friday, August 20, 2010

Chunky Basil Pasta Sauce

Can Jam Challenge #8

The thing about canning and preserving is when you first start out, you put up almost anything you can get your hands on. After a while, you finally realize and say to yourself, “What am I gonna do with 20 jars of hot-dog relish?” That’s where friends come in, right?

Eventually, even your friends are like, “What am I gonna do with all this hot-dog relish?” So, over time you learn to make the recipes you REALLY like and use regularly, and just as importantly, the ones your friends REALLY like too.

Fresh homegrown tomtoes ready to be made into sauce
There are a gazillion recipes out there for home-canned tomato sauce, but I really like this one from "The Complete Book of Small-Batch Preserving"; I’ve talked about it before. I’ve used this sauce on pasta, in soups, pizza, even pot-roasts.

It’s a very versatile and delicious sauce, and only the most tasty and cherished home-grown tomatoes get the honor of being used to make it. I don't even bother making other tomato sauces because this is so good!

It's so hard to come by a really good, honest-to-god homegrown tomato down here unless you grow it yourself, which is what I do, twice a year. One of these days, when I have tomatoes to spare (is that even possible?), I'm gonna have to be a little more adventurous!

Chunky Basil Pasta Sauce
Recipe Source: The Complete Book of Small-Batch Preserving
Yield: 8 cups

8 cups (2 L) coarsely chopped, peeled tomatoes (about 9-12 tomatoes)
1 cup chopped onion
3 cloves garlic
2/3 cup red wine
1/3 cup red wine vinegar (5 % strength)
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1 teaspoon pickling salt
1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 6-oz/156 mL) can tomato paste

Combine tomatoes, onion, garlic, wine, vinegar, basil, parsley, salt, sugar and tomato paste in a very large non-reactive pan. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, for 40 minutes or until mixture reaches desired consistency, stirring frequently.

Remove hot jars from canner and ladle sauce into jars to within 1/2 inch (1 cm) of rim (head space). Process 35 minutes for pint (500 mL) jars and 40 minutes for quart (1 L) jars in a BWB.


Anonymous said...

My hubby sent me your link, we have tomatoes coming out of our ears with more to be picked! I'm looking forward to trying this recipe but I will be freezing my sauce. Thanks for the post!

Just the Right Size said...


Even when frozen, this makes an awesome, all- around sauce. Lucky you to have all those tomatoes!

Mimi said...

I'm definitely trying this, thank you!

Just the Right Size said...

Mimi, definitely give it a try; it's an awesome sauce...especially this time of year when all the produce is going gangbusters!

Daisy Driver said...

I'm getting two boxes of tomatoes this weekend - this is definitely on my list to try!

Joy Bugaloo said...

I especially like this as a pizza sauce!

Anonymous said...

This sounds like a very nice, simple, all-purpose sauce. Thanks! I'm definitely going to try it!

Just the Right Size said...

Daisy, it sounds like you're going to be a busy bee this weekend!

Joy, I like to simmer and reduce this down a bit more and use as a pizza sauce too! I add a bit of fennel to it on the pizza.

Ap269, I know you're going to love it!

Sean said...

I'm the founder/moderator for Punk Domestics (, a community site for those of use obsessed with, er, interested in DIY food. It's sort of like Tastespotting, but specific to the niche. I'd love for you to submit this to the site. Good stuff!

Eve's Garden said...

Did you add the lemon juice at the end? Or is the vinegar enough to acidify the tomatoes??

Just the Right Size said...


No, the red wine vinegar and red wine are more than enough acidity needed for this recipe.

Amy said...

I made two batches of this yesterday; one with a mix of romas and red heirloms; the other with all yellow and orange tomatoes. Both were fantastic!

Anonymous said...

I'm out of red wine. Will it work without it?

Just the Right Size said...


Better late than could substitute the red wine with more red wine vinegar, but I wouldn't leave either out entirely as they contribute to the overall acidity of the sauce and make it safe for BWB canning.

Unknown said...

If I chose to add a bunch of peppers and hot peppers, would you recommend processing in the pressure canner at 10 psi for 20 min. for pints, 30 min. for quarts?

Just the Right Size said...

Hi Jason; thanks for stopping by!

The orginal recipe from Elle Topp's "Complete Book of Small Batch Preserving" doesn't give instructions for pressure canning (that I'm aware of). However, theres a few things you could do within the safety of the BWB directions. You could replace some of the onion amount with chopped peppers (as long as both still total one cup), or replace 1 or 2 cups of the tomato amount with the same amount of peppers. The key point is to keep the total amount of low acid vegetables called for in the recipe the same.

I wouldn't try to improvise the BWB directions for pressure canning as there's no way to ensure the end result is safe.

OR, if your heart is set on pressure canning, here is a smilar recipe from the Ball Blue Book, but it's more of a smooth sauce:

Italian Tomato Sauce - Ball Blue Book of Canning, copyright 1990

1 cup finely chopped onion (about 1 med.)
2 cloves garlic minced
2 TBLSP olive oil
5 lbs. tomatoes, peeled and cored
1 cup finely chopped pepper (green, hot or both)
1 TBLSP each basil, oregano, and italian seasonings
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper

Cook chopped onions and garlic in oil in a large suace pot until tender. Add remining ingredients and simmer about 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Press mixture through a food mill; discard seeds. Cook mixture over med. high heat until thickened, about 1 hour. Stir frequently to prevent sticking. Pour into hot jars, leaving 1/4 inch head space. Adjust caps. Process 35 minutes in boiling water bath. Yield about 4 half pints.

Anonymous said...

This recipe looks great! Unfortunately I can't seem to find pickling salt where I'm at. I have everything I need to get started except for this! Could I replace it with another type of salt?

Just the Right Size said...


Sure, you can use Kosher salt for this. Kosher salt does not contain iodine (unlike table salt) and can be used as a replacement.

Have fun!

honeyguide said...

Can you freeze the sauce instead of canning? Or just store in the refrigerator for a couple of weeks?

Just the Right Size said...

Hi there Honeyguide,

You can freeze as much of this sauce as you would like!

A space-saving tip is to freeze the sauce in Ziplock bags that are laid on a cookie sheet (flat). When the sauce is frozen in the bag, just take off the cookie sheet and stack the flat frozen bags on top of each other. This prevents having misshapen blobs of frozen bags of sauce. Of course, you can freeze in a Tupperware container too.

Thanks for stopping by and have fun!



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