To make a recipe for tomato purée a tool will be required for straining and separating the tomato’s pulp from the skin and seeds. Although a food mill will do a good job with this, an Italian tomato press is recommended for ease and speed in getting the job done. When using a food mill, you have to stop fairly often to clean out the skin and the seeds. The tomato press however, has a design that allows constant operation. The tomatoes are loaded into the big hopper on top and then you start turning the crank. Tomato purée pours from one of the chutes, while the seeds and skin drop from a different chute. This way you can keep moving and not have to stop production, at least until the sauce tray is overflowing!
There are many brands of tomato presses on the market, but one of the better ones comes from Rigamonti. It has a solid suction cup base and an almost effortless crank turning feature, not to mention ease of assembling once it is understood how it is all meant to go together. Cleaning of the tomato press may feel somewhat monotonous as it is necessary to hand wash the tool. If it were to go through the dishwasher, it could melt. But although you will be hand washing the press, the amount of time saved on milling your tomatoes (or other soft vegetables and fruits)will more than make up for the inconvenience of hand washing the tomato press.
Besides using a tomato press for tomato purée, other soft fruits and vegetables can be put through the press for additional creations you will want to make. One of the best uses though, is to make fresh homemade pizza sauce! A basic pizza sauce recipe is as follows:
- 1lb tomatoes
- 1 clove garlic, crushed and chopped
- 1 brown onion, finely diced
- 1 tbs chopped fresh basil
- salt and pepper
- olive oil
- Stir fry the onion and garlic in 1 tsp olive oil until soft.
- Process the tomatoes in your tomato mill according to your recipe.
- Mix the tomato pulp with the onion and garlic and simmer over a low heat for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Stir in the basil and salt and pepper to taste, and remove from the heat.
This is a great general pizza sauce that will work with any pizza. For specialty pizzas though, you acn add other flavors easily. For example chilli powder and paprika for a Mexican pizza or a dash of smoky BBQ sauce to give a meat lovers a real kick.