I don’t know about you, but I never seem to have tomato paste when I need it. However, I have come to the conclusion that if you can buy it in the grocery store, you can make it in your kitchen, so here several weeks ago when I needed some tomato paste and didn’t have any, I decided to give making some a try. I mean, seriously, the ingredient list on the cans isn’t that long. It’s basically concentrated, condensed tomato. Not hard, but it does take some time. I didn’t give mine quite enough time, but I needed it and didn’t have any longer to wait.
All you need is a can of crushed, diced, or stewed tomatoes. You can give using fresh tomatoes a try, but you will need to peel them. To do that easily, bring some water to a boil in a pan large enough for the number of tomatoes you’re needing to peel. Once the water is at a good, rolling boil, drop in the tomatoes for about 30 seconds to one minute. Remove the tomatoes from the boiling water and place them in cold water. The skin should be loose. Just use a knife to peel off the skin. !Caution! The juices of the tomato WILL be hot. Also, if you peel them over a bowl, you can save the juice through freezing or canning for stews and soups. Use the skins in a compost pile or to feed your chickens or whatever.
Alright, now that you have your tomatoes (one way or the other), put them in a blender, and blend them until they are smooth. You shouldn’t have to add water to puree them, since tomatoes have a lot of juice in them and canned ones are floating in liquid. If you wish to strain them, do it now. You could probably use a cheese cloth or possibly just a basic wire strainer. Pour the tomato puree into a skillet or sauce pan. Cook it on low to medium heat, stir it often after it reaches a slow boil. Just let it cook down until you get a nice paste, stirring often the closer it gets being done. Use it like you would any other paste.
P.S. You can add some dried herbs and seasonings to the puree before cooking it down if you want.