Summer Tomato Sauce

Adapted from Pasta Harvest by Janet Fletcher.  Makes enough sauce for one pound pasta, or one recipe Baked Conchiglione with Spinach-Ricotta Filling.

  • 2 pounds ripe plum tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup minced carrot
  • 1/3 cup minced celery
  • 1/3 cup minced yellow onion
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tablespoon minced fresh oregano
  • 1 tablespoon minced parsley
  • Salt
  • Pinch hot red pepper flakes, optional
  • Pinch sugar, optional

Quarter the tomatoes and place them in a medium-sized heavy saucepan.  Cover and simmer over moderate heat until the tomatoes have collapsed and rendered their juices, about 15 minutes.  Stir once or twice to make sure they aren’t sticking to the pan.  Uncover and cook over a slow simmer, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes have been reduced to a thick, sauce-like consistency, about 45 minutes.  Pass the tomatoes through a food mill or sieve placed over a bowl to remove the skins and seeds.

Heat the olive oil in a 10-inch skillet over medium-low heat.  Add the carrot, celery, onion, garlic, oregano, and parsley.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are soft and sweet.  This will take about 30 minutes.  Add the tomato purée and stir to blend.  Season with salt.  Add the red pepper flakes, if desired.  Taste for sweetness and add a pinch of sugar if the tomatoes seem too tart.  Cover and simmer over low heat for 10  minutes to blend the flavors.  Taste and adjust the seasonings if needed.

Makes about 2 cups sauce.