Let’s keep it simple today, what do you think? This is weeknight dinner. It’s the kind of thing that takes a little bit of work upfront but is totally worth it later. We’re making fresh tomatoes into a rich, tasty sauce that will freeze all winter and keep away the pre-made tomato sauce blues. Believe it or not, this is single dude food. It’s so easy, you’ll be amazed with your cooking skills. And so will everyone else!
Also–if you’re some kind of Italian cooking genius, I would stop reading. I made this up. I’m sure it’s all wrong.
You’ll need these things:
6 fresh tomatoes (I’m not actually sure what kind I used…)
3 cloves of garlic
1/2 small can of tomato paste (optional)
dried oregano and basil
salt and pepper
red pepper flakes
(And pasta, of course. I’d also recommend freshly grated parmesan cheese.)
Here’s what to do with those things:
The tomatoes will need to be peeled. If you cut an X on the blossom end of each tomato, then dunk them in boiling water then into cold water, the peels should slip right off. Then, give them a rough chop (you can do this according to how chunky you like the tomatoes in your sauce to be).
Dice an onion and the garlic and brown them in a pot with a generous amount of olive oil. When they’re transparent and fragrant, pour in the tomatoes. (Disclaimer–this is where things get weird.) I totally used a pastry cutter (this thing) to break up the tomatoes a little more. I have no idea if this is an acceptable way to treat tomatoes. It’s usually how I break down fruit to make jam, so I figured it would work for tomatoes, too! It does the job.
After that’s done, add half the can of tomato paste, then the basil, oregano, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes to taste. Here’s the scoop on tomato paste: it’ll help the sauce thicken faster. If you don’t have it/don’t like the way it tastes, your sauce will have to cook down for a much longer time to lose that fresh tomato taste and thicken up. I don’t mind the paste.
Simmer the sauce, stirring occasionally, for 30-45 minutes until it has thickened up. You’ll know when it’s time.
You can also add ground beef, carrots, or celery to this sauce if you want. I would just add them at the beginning (before the tomatoes).
Serve over hot pasta with grated parmesan on top! The leftover sauce will freeze well. It’ll also keep in the fridge for a week or so.