Monday, October 8, 2012

Recipe 23: Country Style Tomato Sauce

     I made this about a month and change ago, when tomatoes were coming in something fierce, and I was getting a million in my farmshare.  It was almost necessary, after I attended my farmshare's Tomato Festival, and came home with, oh, five more pounds of heirloom tomatoes.  In my defense, how can you say no to such a pretty face?  YOU CAN'T. 

     I searched high and low through my cookbooks.  Shockingly, almost none had a recipe.  What's up with that?  Shouldn't every self respecting non-specific cookbook have a recipe for something this basic, that is this much of a staple in kitchens?  

Anydoodle, I took to the Internets, where I found this recipe on Smitten Kitchen, followed it to a recipe from Lidia, and then took Giada's advice to add butter when I served it.  Ultimately, what follows is rough, and a combination of the recipes I found online, and what I had in my farmshare.  I call it country style because I opted not to blend it; I like a slightly chunky sauce and thought it looked prettier that way because I'd used some colorful heirlooms.  I also did not use very many plum tomatoes - I just used what I had.  All in all?  Totally delicious.  I recommend adding some butter to make it richer; the freshness of the tomatoes makes it very bright.  You don't need to; it's pretty darn tasty on its own.

Recipe below:

Country Style Tomato Sauce

(adapted from The Smitten Kitchen and Lidia)

Yield: A lot


2-3 lbs fresh tomatoes
1 onion, minced
1-2 large carrots, minced
2-3 pressed or minced cloves of garlic (or to your taste preference)
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
1 bay leaf
sea salt
olive oil for cooking
optional: butter to taste (to enrichen)


Naked tomatoes
  1. Peel your tomatoes.  Do so by bringing a pot of water to boil, scoring your tomatoes with an X across the bottom and briefly scalding them for 20 or so seconds before dropping the tomato into a very cold bowl of water.  The skin should slide right off.  If not, drop them back in the hot water and repeat!  
  2. Strain your naked tomatoes.  Using a mesh strainer over a bowl, one by one, wring out your tomatoes.  It sounds gross, it is gross.  Throw out the seeds, but save the juices you catch in the bowl.  
  3. Chop your squeezed tomatoes.
  4. Heat about a tablespoon or more of olive oil in your Le Creuset (enough to coat the bottom) over medium-high.
  5. Saute onions, carrots, and garlic in your pot for around 10 minutes, until the get soft and begin to change color.
  6. Add your tomatoes and 3/4 of your basil and sautee for a few minutes (4-5).
  7. Add the juice and bay leaf, reduce the heat and let the mixture simmer for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally to break up the tomatoes as much as you can (get a little rough with them). Add the remaining basil towards the end.
  8. Season with salt and pepper to your taste. 
  9. Add a tbsp (or to your taste) butter if you want to bring down the brightness; not necessary if you don't want to or don't do dairy.
    Almost done!
  10. If you want a smooth sauce, this would be the point to break out your immersion blender.
  11. Serve hot over pasta, toast, or whatever your heart desires.
  12. Freezes well!

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