I must preface this post with a disclaimer: this is not the “proper” way to make tomato sauce nor is it the right way to “put them up” for winter. Proper tomatoes sauces call for removing the skins of the tomatoes and sterilizing jars and other such respectable actions. This is a fast and dirty way to eek some of that magical sun drenched summer produce into my winter meals. If you have an abundance of tomatoes in your garden or purchased a load of beauties this weekend, cracking with ripeness and begging to be used immediately, then this recipe is for you.
Fresh Tomato Starter Sauce
10 lbs ripe tomatoes, cored and roughly chopped (multi-colored heirloom tomatoes pictured)
2 tablespoons olive oil
6-8 cloves of fresh garlic, minced
10-15 leaves fresh basil, roughly chopped
salt and pepper
Wash the tomatoes and remove the cores. Roughly dice and set aside. Mince the garlic cloves while warming the olive oil in a large stock pot over medium low heat. Add the garlic to the pot and stir for 2 minutes, being careful not to let the garlic burn. Add the tomatoes to the pot and stir until well coated in garlic and oil then reduce the heat to low and cover the pot. Allow the tomatoes to simmer for 10 minutes stirring occasionally until completely soft. Add the chopped fresh basil and allow to simmer covered for 10 more minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove from the heat and allow the mixture to cool completely. Pulse the tomatoes with an immersion blender or in an upright blender until a chunky-smooth texture is reached. Pour into freezable containers in single dinner portion sizes (pasta sauce for 2 people requires about 1-1 1/2 cups of sauce.) Label and freeze.
For the next 6 months when you need a little hit of fresh tomato flavor you defrost the sauce in the fridge (pull it out of the freezer the night before you need it), add it to a pan with some sauteed onion and any extra seasoning you may want. Toss it with whole wheat pasta or spread it over roasted eggplant slices, top with mozzarella cheese and call it dinner.
Simple, healthy, and ecologically responsible as you will not be buying as many canned and shipped tomatoes this coming winter with this sauce in your freezer.