Wednesday, August 28, 2013

So many tomatoes....

For me, a homegrown tomato is one of the best things about the summer.  I may only have 3 plants but the tomatoes are consuming my kitchen so in an effort to use them up I made a pasta sauce.

  A few years ago, Bravo had a show about a Chef and his culinary school. The Chef demonstrated a tomato sauce one episode and I have been loosely following the recipe ever since.  If you would like to take a look at the original recipe you can find it here.

I took any of my tomatoes that were ripe and cut them in chunks.  

I added them to a hot pan and let the tomatoes cook on high for 5 minutes.  Combine salt, pepper, sugar*, and vanilla extract** (I wouldn't have thought of it either) and let cook on low for an hour and half to 2 hours.  Continue to check and stir.  I have burnt more than one batch of sauce in the past attempting to do too many other things. 

The sauce will begin to get very thick and at that time I throw in the garlic, olive oil and basil leaves and let cook for another 10 minutes.  This sauce is great to use for everything from pasta to pizza and little goes a long way.  When using for pasta I have added a ladle full of pasta water to loosen up the sauce.

*Always be sure to taste your tomatoes for ripeness.  Fresh summer tomatoes from the garden might not need as much sugar as grocery store tomatoes in the dead of winter.  You can always add...You cant take away!

**The original recipe calls for a vanilla pod but I don't usually keep vanilla pods in the house and after trying with a little vanilla extract got the taste with out the extra cost.

Thick Tomato Sauce

3 lbs Tomatos, cut in chunks
1 Tsp Sea Salt
1/2 Tsp Sugar
1/2 Tsp Vanilla Extract
Pepper to taste
3 Tbsp Olive Oil
5 Garlic cloves, smashed
1/2 cup Whole Basil leaves

1. Cut tomatoes in chunks
2. Throw in a hot pan and let cook on high for 5 minutes
3. Add Salt, Pepper, Sugar and Vanilla extract and put the heat to low, cover and let simmer for about an hour.  After about an hour I remove the cover.  
4. Add Olive oil, Garlic and Basil leaves when most of the liquid has cooked off and the sauce looks nice and thick.  Cook for an additional 10 minutes.  

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