Monday, August 16, 2010
Sneak Attack Tomatos
A good friend of mine has a garden plot which is producing tomatos like crazy right now. I've never viewed an abundance of tomatos as a problem, as they can be dried, canned, and otherwise turned into deliciousness with very little work. Except when a paper bag full of random tomatos mysteriously shows up on your doorstep about 5 hours before you are leaving for a long "meteor shower watching, camping, whitewater rafting, and ziplining" weekend. And so I threw the paper bag into the fridge, crossed my fingers, and hoped that maybe some would make over the long weekend. I thank him that at least it wasn't zucchini.
Upon my return, I had a bunch of really really ripe tomatos, and one mushy sad dead tomato. What else do you make with a ton of tomatos that are about to go bad? Marinara Sauce. There is nothing better than a basic pasta sauce with fresh heirloom tomatos. This is a sauce where the quality of the tomatos is what makes or breaks the flavor. If done properly, it needs needs nothing except a sprinkling of shaved parmesan and pasta al dente. I decided to go for a deep sweet flavor which finishes with a spicy kick.
I used about 2 TBSP light olive oil which is better for high heat to sautee one large Spanish onion diced along with about 1 TBSP dried basil, 1 TBSP dried oregano, 1 TBSP garlic powder and 2 tsp red pepper flakes. I let the whole thing go at medium heat until the onions were carmelized and brown. Then I threw in all the tomatos, diced, skins and all (mostly because I don't mind the chunks) and added salt and pepper to taste. I let everything simmer for about an hour, using a potato masher to stir and squish all the tomato-ey goodness. About 20 minutes before it was done and thickened up, I added about 1 TBSP of balsamic vinegar and 1 TBSP of extra virgen olive oil for flavor. This is important to do at the end of your simmer as high heat destroys the flavor of olive oil. The result was beautiful, rich, deep, sweet, and spicy all at once.
Labels: Marinara Sauce