The summer might be winding down but that hasn’t stopped our garden. We’ve been harvesting a decent amount of tomatoes for weeks and with only two tomato plants. Jeff made this sauce last week, then again the other day because, wow, it is amazing! Actually the real magic here is what he accomplished with those Big Boy red tomatoes you see below. This is the first time we’ve grown them and they really don’t taste as good as heirloom tomatoes. We were both pretty disappointed because we have so many, what to do with all these just-ok-flavored tomatoes? When he made the sauce he added some dried cherry tomatoes, (we’re still drying and freezing many of them), and that really made this the best tomato sauce I’ve ever had. I was really impressed and wanted to share this recipe with all of you. He tasted and altered quite a bit, so feel free to improvise the flavoring with fresh herbs and adding more olive oil as needed, but the dried tomatoes are a must for flavor! I had so much fun taking photos for this post, it’s tricky for me to cook and be behind the camera at the same time, so I really enjoyed just photographing the process. Thank you Jeff!
Fresh Tomato Sauce
- 4 lbs tomatoes, blanched, seeded, chopped
- 1/2 cup dried tomatoes, chopped finely
- 3 cipollini onions, chopped finely
- 2 tablespoons chopped garlic, about 5 cloves
- 3 tablespoons olive oil + 2 later
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 bay leaf
- 10 fresh basil leaves, about 1/4 cup, chopped
- 20 fresh oregano leaves, about 1-2 tablespoons, chopped
- salt and pepper to taste
To blanch the tomatoes, cut an x in the bottom of each tomato, place in a large pot of boiling water for a minute or so until you see the skin fall away, remove with a strainer and place tomatoes in ice bath to cool. When cool enough to handle remove skins, slice in half and remove seeds.
Heat olive oil over medium heat, add onions and garlic and cook until just golden and fragrant. Stir in tomato paste, a bit of the herbs, some salt and pepper, then cook a few minutes stirring frequently. Add the blanched and chopped tomatoes, the rest of the herbs and chopped dried tomatoes. Add the 2 tablespoons additional olive oil. Bring to simmer and stir often, if the tomato pieces are too big, break them down with a wooden spoon. Cook for about 45 minutes to 1 hour on low, stirring occasionally, season as needed, adding more herbs, olive oil or tomato paste. Yields about 3 cups of sauce.