Happy summer! Lindsay Kluge from Ginger Tonic Botanicals here to share my monthly Garden to Table recipe with Suite One Studio. Summer is a time of garden abundance, and this month it's all about tomatoes!
If you keep a summer garden, then you no doubt notice that everything often comes in at once. We plant our tomato and basil plants together as "companion plants" in the garden and they seem to enhance the growth of one another. Plus - we use them together in so many recipes! When our tomato plants start producing those beautiful red tomatoes, it feels so time sensitive to use them up quickly before the squirrels get to them, and once picked they have a relatively short shelf life. Thus, making garden fresh pasta sauce is a go-to activity on summer weekends to use up a ton of tomatoes at once in a recipe that freezes well and is also great for a crowd. Although this recipe may look time consuming, much of this is kind of a "set it and forget it" project that just requires a long cook time that's not necessarily active on your part. Trust me - once it's all finished you'll know it was worth the wait!
Some notes on the recipe: 1) You definitely want to save all of the tomato juice as this gives the sauce the bulk of it's flavor. 2) Adding the sugar is optional, but I find that it cuts the acidity of the tomatoes just enough to balance the flavor. 3). Cook the onions low and slow as this adds additional sweetness and softens them up so you don't even notice them once they're in the sauce. 4) Optionally, you can add in 1 tsp anchovy paste to the finished sauce to give it a well rounded umami flavor.
Tomato Basil Pasta Sauce
5 pounds fresh tomatoes
2 tbsp olive oil
1 yellow onion, coarsely chopped
8 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp sea salt
1 tbsp oregano
1 tbsp red wine
1 tbsp coconut palm sugar
12-15 fresh basil leaves, coarsely chopped
Bring a large pot of water to a strong boil. Set aside a large bowl filled with ice water.
Gently cut a small X on the bottom of the tomatoes and blanch them in the boiling water for only about 30 seconds. You may only be able to do about 7-8 tomatoes at a time. Remove them from the boiling water and immediately transfer them to the ice water bath and let them chill out here for a few minutes. Once all tomatoes are blanched, remove the skins (this is an easy process - the skins just fall off once they've been in the ice bath) and set the skinned tomatoes aside in a large bowl.
Take a strainer and place over a medium sized bowl. Slice tomatoes in half and scrape out the juicy interior with the seeds into to the strainer. *You want to reserve as much tomato juice as possible while straining out the seeds*. The juice will start to drip down into the bowl. Save the rest of the tomatoes and put aside in another bowl. Once all tomatoes have been scraped of the seeds, press out as much juice as possible with your hands or the back of a spoon, then discard the seeds.
Place the reserved tomato juice in a large pan and simmer down for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add in the remaining skinned tomatoes and simmer together for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. You want to boil off some of the excess water so the sauce isn't too watery.
In another large pan, sauté the onions in olive oil on low heat until they are very tender and soft. Add in the garlic and saute together for 3 minutes. During this time, add the red pepper flakes, salt, oregano, wine and sugar to the tomato sauce. Add in the onions and garlic and stir well. Let simmer together for 20 minutes. Add in the basil during the last 5 minutes of cooking. Serve with summer spaghetti squash or regular noodles.
Optional: Spaghetti Squash
Preheat oven to 375F. Cut the stem off of the squash, then cut the squash lengthwise. Scrape out the seeds. Place face up on a baking dish and drizzle with 1 tsp olive oil. Bake for 45 minutes. Remove from heat, let cool for 10 minutes then scrape out the inside with a fork forming noodles. Serve with the tomato basil sauce.
For more Garden to Table Inspirations: