It was a muggy day and the weather was iffy, so I went for a simple concoction, albeit I did toss my intentions to go electricity-free and used a food processor instead of dicing and mashing to make a thick tomato sauce that could double as a spread for bruschetta.
I got both big tomatoes and fresh basil from Kelly’s Farm and cherry tomatoes, fresh garlic, red scallions, and parsley from Farmer Dave’s, using only olive oil, plus salt and pepper to taste from my “bag of tricks” of pantry items.
I was basing the recipe on one I had seen asking of 2 and 1/4 lb tomatoes, and, between two big tomatoes and a pint of cherries, I think I used about that. And, I used a bit more than a tablespoon of chopped garlic since it was so fresh and juicy that I felt the sauce could use extra. NOTE: when using very fresh, young garlic, the bulbs are not fully developed in to separate cloves, nor is the skin dry and easy to remove. But, sharp knife takes care of that! And oh, it tastes so good. I ate a clove raw.
The original recipe did not call for red scallions, but they were so pretty that I just had to grab a bunch, and I think they added that “special something/secret ingredient” flavor and texture to the end product. As to parsley, no one had pre-cut available by the time I “shopped,” so I purchased a plant for my home from Farmer Dave’s and picked what I needed fresh from the plant.
Here’s basic the recipe:
- 2 1/4 pounds fresh, ripe tomatoes
- 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
- 1 tablespoon flat leave parsley
- 1 tablespoon chopped garlic (typically two cloves) or more to taste
- 2 tablespoons sliced (dice size) red scallion, red part only (optional)
- 1/4 cup good quality olive oil
First, cut the cherry tomatoes in half and the larger tomatoes in quarters and squeeze out the seeds and as much pulp and juice as you can. (Because this sauce is not cooked down, it is crucial to remove as much liquid as possible from the tomatoes so you don’t end up with a soupy mess.)
Put all the tomato pieces in a food processor and process for 15 seconds or more to create a mealy texture and remove to a strainer over a bowl to catch the liquid. (don’t dump the liquid – it tastes great as a beverage!)
While the processed tomatoes are straining, remove all stems from the basil and parsley before measuring, with the leaves somewhere between loosely and tightly packed, chop your garlic and scallion, and get your olive oil ready to measure.
Put all the veggies and the olive oil in the processor and process away for, perhaps another 10-15 seconds. It really does not take long and you do want to leave some texture.
Then, add salt and pepper to taste. I used about 1/3 teaspoon of salt and that popped the flavor just right for me. But always stir well and taste and don’t be afraid to add just a bit more at a time until it reaches that “aha!” point.
And, that’s it! Mix it with hot or cooled cooked pasta and top with some Parmesan cheese, if desired, spread on a baguette slice and top with fresh mozzarella, or use as a base for pizza. To ramp things up, put it is a sauce pan to cook it down a bit and add several tablespoons of butter for a decadent but so worth it addition to anything calling for a rich tomato sauce.
While you are at it, take advantage of the summer bounty of freshly picked tomatoes from all our local farmers and make and freeze a few batches for a cold winter day.