“You are my Sugo, my only Sugo. You make me happy when skies are gray. You’ll never know dear how much I love you. Please don’t take my Sugo away.”

8 Mar

Well…well…well. Who would have thought. After my woeful post ‘No Sugo For You! Come back, one year!‘, it seems the men in the family who normally organise the supply of the tomatoes felt that they should do all they can to obtain some. At least this way La Donna del Vino will have something to write about, right? Correct! They did not disappoint!

Check out those juicy tomatoes! Ohhhh yeah!

So I went with ol’ ma and pa to the lovely abode of our friends where they had set up their garage to resemble the shed we would normally have used for making tomato sauce. We were more compacted, but it actually benefited the efficiency of the whole system we realised not too long after.

The system started off with a group of us cutting the tomatoes into smaller pieces so as to fit them easily into the crushing machine. Hmm…the words ‘crushing machine’ just made me think of Arnold Schwartzneger all of a sudden!

Best…photo…ever! Right? 🙂

So here is the process in photos.

You wash and cut i pomodori (the tomatoes).

You put them in the machine.

You watch the juice come out one end…

You watch the skins come out the other end.

You fiddle with the skins and consider setting up a day-spa using tomato skins and some rumour on how it slows the ageing process…pfftt!

Meanwhile, you put basil in the bottles.

Time for a coffee break?

Back to work! Use clean bottles.

Pour the sauce into the tub to fill the bottles.

Try not to get too dirty…(useless tip)

Add salt. If unsure…add more salt. If still unsure, add more. But remember, we’re not curing tomato sauce, so watch the amount of salt you add! Then fill bottles so they’re a rich red colour.

Pass the bottles to Dino who will put them in the drum ready to be boiled and sealed!

And presto! Tomato sauce! Sugo for all! That wasn’t too bad, was it?

During the whole process we were trying to work out the cost of making this sauce, and if/how we were saving money. The simplest answer and the harshest is that we were not saving anything. You can buy tomato passata for a mere $1.20 in some places. Here we were, paying $22 per case of tomatoes (very RARE tomatoes, mind you), getting how ever many bottles we were getting, not getting paid for the labour and putting the skins through TWICE (controversial decision, but we save a dollar in an extra bottle for every time we put the skins through a second time!). This is not to mention the initial cost of the equipment, nor the gas used to heat the drums, or the water to fill the drums, or the electricity to run the motor of the tomato machine…hmm…yes…basically we are insane to be doing this. But where else can you get dirty with the family, make something delicious and worthy of such effort, and have this amount of fun? This is part of our Italian culture. It is not like we are steeped in tradition (this is only something we have taken upon ourselves to do the last decade in order to continue a known tradition). However if we were to save our money and not meet up with the cousins, it would be one more opportunity missed, one less plate of food and bottle of wine shared and ultimately one less story to tell.

As dear Julian put it, “Krystina, this is something for you to write about! We are not doing this to simply get tomato sauce. We are doing this so you can write about it for all of us on your blog!”

So thank you for the opportunity guys!

Time to eat food and enjoy the company!

2 Responses to ““You are my Sugo, my only Sugo. You make me happy when skies are gray. You’ll never know dear how much I love you. Please don’t take my Sugo away.””

  1. Stu March 8, 2012 at 9:06 AM #

    A fantastic process, beautiful end product, but most of all it seems to be a wonderful shared, social activity.

    • La Donna del Vino March 8, 2012 at 2:23 PM #

      That it is, Stu, that it is. A wonderfully fun tradition to maintain.

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