Fancy Dinner Part 1 – Tomato Sauce

Now that the weather has turned cooler I’m reflecting on the bounty of summer, and I don’t think I’ve properly gushed about this season’s tomatoes. Between our community garden plot and our weekly CSA pickups, I can’t remember ever having so many tomatoes that were bursting with such intense, sweet and complex flavors. The hot, dry summer months were a boon to the tomato crop. Or, maybe the tomatoes were just responding to the calamity of the previous summer, where there was nary a tomato to be found at many farmers’ markets in the area.

Garden fresh tomatoes
If the afterlife is filled with tomatoes, they’d be reminiscent of the ones from this past summer. With so much of the fruit available, I went beyond my usual method of eating them plainly sliced or in a salad.

I made my first tomato sauce from fresh fruit. Not canned. Not from concentrate. Just Picked. Local. Tomatoes. Although this sauce was really just one component of a much more elaborate meal, this recipe stood out on its own. Fresh, sweet, and surprisingly simple. What more could you want from a weeknight meal? I’ll try this method again and see if this technique can help the sad winter tomatoes that I know are waiting for me in the coming months, pale and sulking in flavorless shame at the supermarket.

This recipe is just one component of the Paccheri Allo Spada recipe from the August edition of La Cucina Italiana Magazine. Except I didn’t fill my paccheri with spada (swordfish). You’ll have to check back for the second part of the recipe to find out my own personal vegetarian version.

Fresh Tomato Sauce
adapted from La Cucina Italiana Magazine
2.5 lbs ripe tomatoes (about 6), washed
1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp. dried marjoram
1/4 c. thinly sliced fresh basil (about 6-8 large leaves)
1/4 c. fresh parsley, chopped
1/4 tsp. kosher salt

1. Put up large pot of water to boil. Gently slide entire tomato into boiling water. Cook just until the skins begin to crack, about 1-2 minutes.
2. With a slotted spoon, gently remove tomatoes and put in a bowl to cool.
blanched tomatoes
3. When tomatoes are cool enough to handle, peel off the skin. It should easily peel away with nothing more than a gentle nudge from your fingers.
4. Quarter the peeled tomatoes and remove the seeds and juicy parts. Save the tomato flesh and discard the seedy juice.
fresh tomato sauce5. In a food processor or blender, combine the tomato flesh and olive oil. Blend/process until it is desired smoothness.
6. Transfer to bowl or storage container and add basil, marjoram, parsley and salt. Stir to combine.
7. Enjoy as is, still warm, over pasta. Or save it for a future recipe (like the one coming soon)…



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