Easy Heirloom Tomato Sauce

Growing up, I was completely and utterly repulsed by tomatoes.  I hated everything about them– their smell, their taste, the way they felt in my mouth.  My parents lived for summer, when they could pick a fat tomato fresh from the garden, slice it thick, and put it in a sandwich between toasted white bread (remember when people ate that?) and slather it with mayonnaise (another of my mortal enemies).  I love them and all, but man.  Ick.

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Okay but they might be a little pretty, I guess.

They’ve grown on me a bit since then, but I’m still way more partial to tomato products than to raw tomatoes.  And what better tomato product than tomato sauce?  It’s a classic for a reason.  It’s also, conveniently, super easy to make yourself.  All you need is a handful of ingredients and an hour of your time, and you’ve got a lovingly homemade, delicious sauce that comes without preservatives or a bunch of added sugar.

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Also, I got a cat.  His name is Louie and he’s the cutest.  Blog photos just got a little more challenging…

As I’ve mentioned once or twice (or three times), homemade ricotta is the easy-peasiest and honestly tastes SO much better than store bought.  Add that to some pasta and this homemade sauce and you’ve got a lovely meal.  Especially if you’ve got the skills to make your own pasta.  That’s my mission for this coming weekend.  Cross your fingers– I think Louie and I are gonna need it!

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The 9-year-old to whom I served this has an excellent palate– she can tell every Skittle flavor apart– and she loved this, so.  Case closed.

Easy Homemade Heirloom Tomato Sauce (makes ~5 c.)

  • At least 3 lbs. heirloom tomatoes, seeded and roughly chopped (reserve juices)
  • Olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 4-5 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1 handful basil, torn
  • 1 T. balsamic vinegar
  • Salt and pepper

Heat olive oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat.  Add onions and cook until softened.  Add garlic and cook until fragrant (around 1 minute).  Add chopped tomatoes and juices and bring to a boil.  Reduce to a simmer; cook until thickened, stirring occasionally.  Stir in basil, balsamic vinegar, and salt and pepper to taste.

This recipe is easily adapted to suit your tastes.  Want to throw a little grated parmesan in there?  Go for it!  Or sauté some mushrooms and peppers with the onions if you’re vibing on the veggies.  The pastabilites are endless (I’m so sorry).

In addition to bringing me a lovable little monster in recent weeks, life also brought me to Hawaii.  Yes, it was insanely beautiful and very, very hard to leave, but I bring it up here BECAUSE I always pick up a cooking magazine or two at the airport for my flights, and this time I grabbed a brunch magazine (clearly there is an editor out there who’s got my number).  Guess what was in it?  An entire spread devoted exclusively to my favorite thing on the face of the planet: bougie toast!

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I was in heaven.  Well, mostly.  The 9-hour delay was not great.  But look at the toast!

I intend to pore over every last page of this magazine because it cost me 14 dollars and oh my god I’m so ashamed to have publicly admitted that.  I’ll report back with the good stuff– gotta pay it forward, right?

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