Monday, August 23, 2010

On the topic of favorites.

1. Of, relating to, or typical of country life or country people.
2. a. Lacking refinement or elegance; coarse.
     b. Charmingly simple or unsophisticated.
3. Made of unfinished or roughly finished wood
4. Having a rough or textured appearance

I'm happy the summer is almost done. There I said it. I know there are summer-lovers everywhere shaking their heads and wagging their fingers at me but that's okay. Autumn really is my favorite season. I feel like I say that about every season as it's looming, just waiting to descend on us, but this time I really mean it. Autumn is the best. Actually, the only thing better might be late-August because the entire months of September, October and November are still to come. Plus August means tomatoes. 

So. Many. Tomatoes. 
This in turn means tomato sauce. 
So. Much. Sauce.

Now, I know what you're thinking; who wants to peel all those tomatoes? Well I have two words for you: don't bother. Thats right, ignore all those cookbooks that insist you must peel and seed your tomatoes, forget that fussy ice bath, and just toss your chopped up tomatoes right into the pot. It does yield a pretty chunky sauce, but I like it that way. If you prefer a smoother more uniform result, just quickly take a stick blender and smooth it out. Some might call this the lazy way to do it but I'm going go ahead and call it rustic - which by the way, while were on the topic of favorites, might just be my favorite word. 

So here it is, the most charmingly simple, unsophisticated tomato sauce. Now you have no excuse for buying that jarred red goop that wishes it were pasta sauce.

Rustic Tomato Sauce
This is more of a guide then a recipe, there really are no right or wrong measurements. If you don't like onion, use less; If you really like onion, use more. You get the idea, feel free to play around with the proportions and don't be afraid to taste it as it cooks. There is no need for sugar here because of the sweetness from the carrot and grape tomatoes. Be generous with the salt, it will round out the flavor. Tomatoes can be quite costly from a supermarket even when they are in season however this can be a very inexpensive recipe if you seek out ingredients from your local farmer's market or better yet the actual farm. Makes about 1 quart of sauce.

Olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 small head of garlic, chopped
1 carrot, chopped in large chunks
~3 pounds Roma tomatoes, chopped course
1/2-1 pint grape tomatoes, sliced in half
2 tablespoons tomato paste (I like Brad's organic)
garlic powder
onion powder
dried oregano
juice of 1/2 a lemon
sea salt or kosher salt
freshly ground pepper
fresh basil and parsley, chopped course

Heat a large pot or dutch oven over medium-high heat.
Add a swig of olive oil and wait for it to heat up.
When a drop of water makes the oil splatter, add the onion and carrot. Saute until onion is softened then add the garlic. Turn the heat down to medium and continue to saute, stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent. Be careful not to let the garlic burn.
Next add the chopped tomatoes and grape tomatoes. Cover and turn the heat up to high. 
The tomatoes will begin to release their juices and break down. When a liquid starts to form add the tomato paste, a few large pinches of dried oregano and a couple shakes of each garlic and onion powder. Stir to combine, turn the heat down to a simmer and replace the cover.
Let simmer until the tomatoes have mostly broken down, add salt and pepper to taste. Stir in the lemon juice and replace the cover. Continue to simmer covered (about an hour and half or two hours from the time you added the tomatoes.
Taste and adjust the salt and pepper.
If you want a smoother sauce, blend it at this point with a stick blender or in a regular blender (this can be dangerous with very hot liquid so be careful). You can choose to blend it just part of the way leaving some chunks or smooth it out completely. I chose not to blend it at all. (If you go this route remove the carrot - I ate it right out the pot and burnt my tongue). If you put the sauce through the blender return it to the pot.
Add the coarsely chopped basil and parsley. Stir to combine, cover and cook another couple minutes.
Spoon sauce over pasta, use as a hot bruschetta on thick, crusty slices of bread or freeze it in ball jars for later use. Relish all the time you saved not peeling your tomatoes.


  1. Just yesterday I made tomatoe sauce out of 4 pounds tomatoes. Funny!
    Will be looking for more next weekend to try out the oven roasted ones from Orangette you posted recently.

    And rustic is just great! Could be almost an attitude towards life...

  2. That sauce looks amazing! And I've never understood why cook books tell you to peel tomatoes either...unnecessary work, in my opinion.

    I only like summer because it means no school. If GA actually had a REAL fall season, I think I'd like fall a little more too. I love reading about fall on food blogs, though!

  3. coconut and vanilla - mmm the roasted ones! let me know how it goes!

    Sara - thanks! yea i guess i should specify northeast autumn cause fall in the south probably isn't quite the same...

  4. Unfortunately it wasn't possible for me to get more cheap tomatoes the last two weekends at the market :(. Maybe I will be lucky next weekend, although it's getting late for tomatoes. But I cross my fingers...

  5. Lisa,

    I just made this with my boyfriend last night (added some leftover red wine that had gone slightly sour) and it was TO DIE for. I can't believe I've never tried making sauce from fresh tomatoes before!

  6. @coconut and vanilla - I hope you find more tomatoes; the markets by me are still overflowing with them but probably not for long.

    @Jack - Isn't it SOO much better than jar sauce? the red wine sounds good too. I'm glad you liked it!


Live Activity Feed