Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Rustic Tomato Sauce

After much prodding by certain friends, I have finally gotten around to posting a tomato sauce recipe. Whenever I make sauce, I follow the same general plan. The differences tend to be what happens with the tomatoes (canned or fresh, peeled or not, finely chopped or chunky) and any add-ins (roasted red pepper, balsamic vinegar). Lately, I have been favoring a more rustic style of sauce.

"Rustic," in this sense, is another word for "lazy." This is a sauce you can make quickly, any day, with whatever produce you have lying around (of course, some of that produce needs to be tomatoes). I primarily used cherry and grape tomatoes (including the sweet 100s from our yard), but I also had some larger plums that were going soft, so they got thrown in as well. The tiny onions were also from our garden (those are normal yellow onions . . . they didn't do as well as I'd hoped), as are the banana pepper and herbs. The herbs for this batch include basil, parsley, thyme and oregano, but I've used others as well. What I'm saying is, this recipe is a tasty way to get rid of the spare produce you have lying around. Quantities aren't very important. Chopping is done roughly. Tomatoes are not peeled. The immersion blender is unnecessary. This sauce is delicious on top of chunky pasta, or even green beans, which is how we served this batch.

This is the time of year we should all be up to our ears in fresh tomatoes and peppers. Enjoy them while you can! Throw together a batch of tasty sauce and revel in the flavors of late summer!

Rustic Tomato Sauce

2-3 tsp olive oil
1/2 c onion, chopped (you can rough chop them by hand or throw them in the food processor for a finer chop, like we did here)
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
peppers, hot or sweet (in this case, we used both a sweet banana pepper and a hot Thai chile)
2-3 cups various tomatoes
assorted herbs, chopped roughly

Heat a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the oil and swirl to coat (you can see from the picture below that we used very little oil for this batch - it's really only necessary for cooking the onions and garlic). Add the onions, garlic and peppers to the pan and saute 4-5 minutes, until soft.

Meanwhile, chop the tomatoes. Tiny tomatoes need only be halved, but larger ones may need to be cored and diced (I quartered some of the larger cherry tomatoes. Just keep everything roughly the same size). Add them to the pan.

Simmer the tomatoes for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally (covering the pan helps to speed up the process, if you need to), until they reach a sauce-like consistency.

Toss in the chopped herbs and cook another 1-2 minutes. Serve over pasta, green beans, or whatever else you'd like!

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