Friday, October 1, 2010

Get Saucy

Summer has slipped away but we are not fully ready to welcome fall.  According to the weather and the farmer's market, we just can't seem to make the jump. End of summer vegetables are still lingering in masses as hints of squash and pumpkins begin to make their way into the mix.  This leaves the question on the farmer's market table: what to do with all the ripe end of summer vegetables?!  I happen to have a plethora of tomatoes pilling up.  The answer to my question is obvious. Duh, make tomato sauce.

Now, where I come from there are many debates about who has the best sauce, whether it is called sauce or gravy and what secret ingredients yield the perfect recipe.  In my opinion, it's all a bunch of fluff.  Everyone's answer is always the same- my mom makes the best sauce. And you know what?  Everyone is lying because my mom makes the best sauce.  However, I don't have time to let my sauce simmer for hours like my mom does and I can't put my own mom love in.  Only moms can do that.  So instead, I have a basic recipe that I use as my go to. It's a recipe that is everyone's and no one's.  There is no complexity, no secret ingredients and no extra mom love.  But, it illustrates the simplicity of italian cooking.  When you use fresh ingredients, there is no need for secrets or tricks or fake names because it always comes out perfect.  Freeze it in small bunches to enjoy all winter long.

If you don't have any more fresh tomatoes, use one can of crushed tomatoes (usually 28 oz). Rumor has it, San Marzano tomatoes are the best.

End of Summer Tomato Sauce
Makes 4 about cups

5-6 Summer tomatoes (skins removed,cored and minced)
Basil about 10 leaves, chopped
Garlic about 3 cloves minced
Sugar about 1 teaspoon

Skin, core and mince the tomatoes.  If you don't have the patience to peel the skin when they are raw, plunge them into boiling water for just about one minute.  Allow them to cool and then the skin will be much easier to peel off. Make sure you remove the seeds.

 In a sauce pan, drizzle olive oil and add the minced garlic.  Saute for a few minutes then add the tomatoes including all the juices.  This can get messy but it's part of the fun.  Add sugar, a pinch at a time, testing for flavor.  Add the basil and simmer until the tomatoes have cooked down into a sauce.   The longer the sauce is left to simmer, the thicker and richer the sauce will be.  Cook it to your preference.  Toss whole wheat pasta in the sauce and add extra on top.  Serve and Enjoy!

What makes this bite better?
When holding on to the flavors of a season, the best way to preserve freshness is to freeze the food.  It's a better alternative than buying out of season foods or ones that had to be flown all the way across the world from Chile.  So take your favorite summer veggies, cook them to perfection (or don't) and freeze away.  When you are craving peaches or blueberries or tomatoes in the middle of February, all you will have to do is defrost.

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