Monday, August 23, 2010

Fresh Tomato Sauce

Last week I was feeling a bit tired of my own cooking--you ever get that way?  Just sooo nonplussed.  But I tried to soldier through and made a "seasonal" recipe, because it felt like I should, and had various pictures like these to show you:

But I didn't like it.  I think it's supposed to be a side dish, but I tried to eat it as a main. Maybe that was the problem, but in any case I felt like all that corn and okra went to waste. Just wasn't feeling it. 

So the next dish I made was an old favorite, which felt very reassuring after the corn-okra mediocrity.  Then this past weekend, I decided that I needed to keep it simple, as I was still in need of an antidote from my own cooking wariness. 

I was actually looking to make one of those really fresh tomato sauces where the only "cooking" that goes on is when you toss the hot pasta into cut tomatoes and minced garlic.  I found a recipe in the Gourmet cookbook for fresh tomato sauce which had the bare ingredients, and decided I was good to go.  So I bought the ingredients and got ready to "cook".

Which turned out to be a real "cook", because despite the years that I've been cooking, I frequently still manage to fail to read the recipe and didn't realize that "fresh" was a relative it not even somewhat abstract term for this recipe, and it did in fact require about 1 hour of simmering.

Oh fine, it was still simple.

Adapted from the Gourmet cookbook (I couldn't find it on Epicurious, so no link to the recipe):
  • 3 lbs tomatoes, such as beefsteak
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 2 TBS olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, slivered
  • pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/8 cup julienned basil
  • 1 lb pasta
So I made tomato sauce. Yay.

I bought this interesting pasta that looked all artisanal from the fancy section of the grocery store. It was fine, but each piece of pasta cooked a bit unevenly. Not a big deal.

The recipe says to peel, core, and seed the tomatoes.  I didn't feel like peeling them (which involved making a little x mark on the bottom of the tomato with your knife, dropping the tomato in boiling water for about 30 seconds, then dropping the tomato into ice water, and removing the peel--yeah, no).

To core a tomato, stick the tip of your knife into the top of the tomato, at an angle so that the tip is slanted towards the center, and move the knife all the way around.

Remove your little cone-shaped core.


Squeeze out the seeds and excess juice over sieve set over a bowl.

Discard the seeds that collected in the sieve. Save the juices.

Coarsely chop the tomatoes, combine with sugar and salt.

Heat olive oil in saucepan over medium heat.  Add the garlic and the crushed red pepper, and cook until garlic is light golden brown.

Add in the tomatoes, reserved juices, sugar and salt.  Bring to boil, then lower heat and simmer sauce for 45 minutes to an hour.

Cook pasta according to directions, shaving time by one minute. Drain pasta, and add to tomato sauce and cook for about 1 minute.  When serving, top with basil and a little bit of Parmesan.



  1. Mmmmm. Looks way better than the jar stuff :)

  2. I would never tire of your cooking.

  3. i'm always misreading recipes. i do like those no-cook sauces like you mention.

  4. my new favorite veggie (fruit?) is okra! okra, fried! yum!

  5. I'm totally stealing that recipe!! I can never find a simple, delicious tomato sauce that's home made!

  6. Yum. Ok, I have a question about okra. How do you make sure that it doesn't get all slimy? That always happens to me.

  7. I got all excited with the initial pics of fresh corn, but then threw up a little in my mouth when I saw the okra. how could you.