Monday, February 1, 2010

Italian Tomato Paste Balls

adapted from The Joy of Cooking: "This flavorful paste is diluted in a little boiling water or stock and added to sauces and soups. Fine in spaghetti and noodle dishes, as a dressing for cooked vegetables or salads, and as an addition to salad dressings."

Haven't tried it in salad dressings . . . but these tomato paste balls pay back every bit of effort for the delicious & savory depth they add to tomato sauces.

Wash and cut into slices:
  • 1 & 1/2 pecks ripe Italian tomatoes (6 quarts)

  • 1 large celery rib, cut up with some leaves
  • 3/4 cup chopped onion
  • 3 Tablespoons fresh herbs: basil, thyme, sweet marjoram, or oregano
  • 3/4 teaspoon peppercorns
  • 12 cloves
  • 3 teaspoons salt
  • 1 two-inch stick cinnamon
  • 1 minced clove of garlic

Simmer these ingredients until the tomatoes are soft.

Stir frequently. Put the vegetables through a fine sieve.

Simmer the sieved pulp in an uncovered slow cooker. Stir frequently.

 When the pulp is thick and reduced by half, spread the paste to a depth of 1/2 inch on moist plates.

Cut into the paste to let air penetrate. Place the paste in a 200 degree oven to dry.

When the paste is dry enough, roll it into balls and dip in olive oil. Store refrigerated in airtight sterile jars--taking care to remove one at a time with a clean utensil as needed.

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