Tomatoes are abundant in August and September. So, it’s a wonderful time to make a classic sauce from all those ripe tomatoes, especially if they happen to be delicious heirlooms.
Here’s another yummy recipe especially for Seasonal Wisdom readers, by Viviane Bauquet Farre of the beautiful culinary blog FoodandStyle.com. This time she presents a Classic Heirloom Tomato Sauce.
Photo copyright Viviane Bauquet Farre.
The tomato is one of the most rewarding fruits to grow. The vines are luscious and deliver an abundance of what many gardeners consider to be the jewels in their kingdom. But growing heirlooms makes the experience even more exciting. Their exotic shapes and colors turn a garden patch into a flamboyant carnival.
Best of all, heirlooms make the most wonderful tomato sauce. Some beefsteak varieties — like the Amana Orange, the McClintock’s Big Pink, the Santa Clara Canner, the Red Brandywine or the Bicolor Mortgage Lifter — have meaty flesh, very few seeds and thin skins that are easy to peel. They’re also incredibly sweet — and when slowly reduced, they make a stunning sauce. Here are good tomato varieties for cooking and preserving.
Today’s recipe captures the very best that these exquisite fruits have to offer. The sauce can be made with either yellow or red heirloom varieties, but it works equally well with regular or plum tomatoes. Reduced slowly to concentrate the flavors and the sugars in the fruits, the sauce is finished with lots of fragrant basil and a dash of aged balsamic to accentuate the tomatoes’ inherent sweetness.
This recipe is magnificent with pasta, of course, but it’s also incredibly versatile. Try making your favorite pizza with it, or serve it as a dip for summer vegetable fritters, or as a sauce with grilled meats. The possibilities are dazzling.
May your sauce-making season be a thrilling one!
Classic Heirloom Tomato Sauce with Fresh Basil
makes approximately 2 cups
active time: 30 min
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil (see cook’s note 2)
- 6 large garlic cloves – skinned and finely sliced
- 3 lbs (1.36kg) very ripe red or yellow meaty heirloom tomatoes – peeled and seeded (seeds strained and juices reserved, about 3/4 cup
- 1 small bunch basil (3 oz) (85g) – leaves removed from stems and torn in 1” pieces
- 3/4 to 1 teaspoon sea salt to taste
- freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 1 teaspoon aged balsamic vinegar (preferably 20 to 25 years old)
- Step 1: Place the tomatoes in a food processor and process until coarsely chopped.
- Step 2: Heat a large heavy-bottomed soup pot at medium-high heat. Add the olive oil and garlic and sauté for 1 minute only. Add the tomatoes and reserved tomato juice and bring to a boil. As soon as the sauce reaches boiling point, reduce heat to medium to medium-low and simmer uncovered for 35 to 40 minutes until the sauce has thickened and the tomatoes separate from the olive oil, stirring from time to time. Add the basil, salt, pepper and balsamic. Continue to simmer for 2 to 3 minutes until basil has wilted. Remove from heat and transfer to a bowl to cool, or proceed with your recipe of choice.
- Cook’s note: Refrigerate up to 3 days or freeze up to 2 months.
- Cook’s note 2: If making several batches of the recipe, decrease the olive oil by half and increase the cooking time to about 30 minutes for each additional portion.
Example: If you multiply the recipe 3 times, use 9 lbs tomatoes, 3/4 cup oil and simmer the sauce for about 1 hour and 40 minutes. All other ingredients in the recipe can be multiplied exactly 3 times.
The Guest Author: Viviane Bauquet Farre is a chef, food and wine blogger and photographer. She publishes foodandstyle.com, showcasing exuberant, seasonal recipes, cocktails and original wine pairings. She has been written about — and contributed to — several regional publications, and her recipes have been featured in Bon Appétit, Vegetarian Times, and Saveur (which crowned her site one of the “Best of the Web”).
Viviane also created recipes for Pimientos de Padron and Dark Rum Mojitos with Basil for Seasonal Wisdom readers.